why haven’t I heard back after my job interview?

You thought you had a great job interview, and you left confident that you’d be hearing good news from the company soon. Your interviewer might have even told you that they wanted to move quickly. And then … silence. What’s going on? Why is it taking so long for the employer to get back to you after a seemingly great interview?

It helps to realize that employers and candidates are often on two very different timelines. For candidates, hiring processes can feel like they’re moving incredibly slowly. But for employers, who often have many priorities above hiring to juggle, taking weeks or even months to get back to candidates might not feel unreasonable.

While you’re waiting for an update, though, it can be useful to understand what might be going on behind the scenes. Here are five of the most common reasons that you haven’t heard anything yet.

  1. The employer hasn’t finished the interview process yet. You might think that it’s a bad sign if the company is continuing to interview other candidates, but if often doesn’t mean anything at all. Most employers want to interview at least three to five people for any given slot, sometimes more. And these interviews can be set up well in advance, before they even met with you. Depending on people’s schedules, those interviews could go on for weeks after they talked with you – without being any reflection on you at all.
  1. Something came up and got in the way. Job seekers tend to assume that hiring goes smoothly and quickly on the employer’s side, but there can be plenty of bumps along the way – whether it’s a budget question that needs to be ironed out before they can make a hire, a decision-maker being out on vacation, a more crucial role becoming vacant and needing to be dealt with first, or an unrelated work priority getting in the way. All of these can make the process drag out much longer than the employer themselves envisioned, and certainly longer than antsy job seekers would prefer.
  1. They’re resolving questions about the position itself. Sometimes hiring needs can change or be thrown into question. A new project might have the hiring manager wondering if she needs to hire someone with PR experience in addition to the other qualifications she was seeking. Or the job description might have seemed right until the department’s deputy announced she’s resigning, and now the manager is figuring out whether to combine that role with the one you interviewed for, reconfigure it altogether, or move various players around. This is the kind of thing you can’t tell from the outside, but can often throw hiring timelines into disarray.
  1. The employer offered the job to another candidate and is waiting for an answer. This might seem like you’re out of the running, but candidates do turn down offers – and if that happens, you might be next on the list. (And there’s no shame in that; plenty of great candidates end up as second choice simply because there were multiple great candidates and only one slot.)
  1. Yes, it’s possible that they’ve hired another candidate and haven’t bothered to tell you. This is incredibly rude, but it’s also increasingly common. You absolutely deserve a clear yes or no after you’ve taken the time to interview (to say nothing of taking time off work, spending hours preparing, and maybe even traveling), but the frustrating reality is that some employers just don’t get back to candidates.

No matter which of these explanations might be at play, the best thing for you to do? Put a note on your calendar to check in with them in two weeks and then put the job out of your mind. Find other jobs to apply for, or otherwise move on. There’s no reason to agonize when you have no control over their timeline, and your stress certainly won’t make things move any faster. Mentally move on (even pretending you’ve already been rejected if it helps you stop obsessing), and let it be a pleasant surprise if they contact you.

I originally wrote this article for publication on AOL.com.

{ 97 comments… read them below }

  1. Felicia*

    #5 happens to me constantly. Pretty much for every interview, if I don’t get the job, even though I took the time to go to an interview, I’ll never hear from them again. I’m glad you agree that that’s rude, and if I’m ever in a position to hire someone, I will make sure to get back to every candidate i’ve interviewed. You can’t interview that many people that it’s impossible to send all the rejected people you interview a form email.

    I wouldn’t mind waiting a while for a response, but I hate that I now expect no response.

    1. CanadianWriter*

      Same. I’m always surprised to actually hear back.

      Sometimes I get really late responses that make me laugh. I applied for a seasonal job at a bookstore (for Christmas help) and they didn’t get around to rejecting me until the following August. Good thing they told me, or I never would have figured it out!

      1. thenoiseinspace*

        Exactly on both counts! I always assume I won’t hear back now – I follow up and then an actual rejection is a nice surprise.

        And I’ve also had the crazy-late rejection – one job emailed me over a year after applying to let me know the position had been filled! Golly, I had been on the edge of my seat waiting for that one…

    2. Felicia*

      However, I don’t expect a response to an application, because each job I apply for will get 200-300 applicants so that’s not reasonable. For the 5-10 interviews they claim they’re doing, however, expecting a response is reasonable and it’s rude if you dont get one.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Actually, it’s easy to send rejections for every application too. Many employers don’t do it, but it takes seconds. There’s no reason they can’t easily do it.

        1. Felicia*

          It probably would be easy – not sure why I don’t see that as rude too – I think because an interview is a much bigger time commitment , so not hearing back after an interview which happens all the time seems so much more rude.

          Also since getting rejected after an application is extremely rare for me, any response I get to an application sort of unnecessarily gets my hopes up.

        2. My 2 Cents*

          This isn’t always so easy. Our applications come in through email, so even if I just copied and pasted the rejection message, I would have to do it 300 times in each individual email, that takes a lot of time. And then come the replies, which is a whole other can of worms.

          1. Steve*

            A friend of mine uses an email account that you can’t reply to for her rejection letters. I’m sure it’s probably pretty easy to set something like that up.

          2. fposte*

            There’s also mail merge, if you don’t want to C&P.

            And the replies don’t have to be a can of worms either; you can create a “I’m afraid we don’t discuss further” template for the few people who follow up.

          3. Jeff*

            Ha! Really? No one is talking about an application, but an interview! It takes a real horse’s rear not to respond to someone who has taken many hours of their time, sometimes days, to apply, fulfill time demands for an employer, sometimes having more than one interview, testing, etc. Then, after a handful of candidates are interviewed, not be given a result is beyond rude. Who would want to work in an environment where such narcissism is promoted?

        3. Gilby*

          I just applied to a job Monday. I got a response that I know was a cut and paste letter, but with my name on top and it thanked me for applying and if they want interview me they will call.

          I am totally good with it. If they call great, if not OK but at least I know either way.

          1. Gilby*

            I get replies from the on-line auto apply ( as opposed to sending to an person/company email address like the one I talked about up-thread).

            My email address is on the app and it just zips me back a ” got your application we will call if we feel you match our needs…”.

    3. Meg Murry*

      I once got rejected for an internship I’d applied to over a year before, after I’d been hired by the same company to work full time in a different location!

    4. Traveler*

      It’s funny because I’ve gotten some rejection letters I think I would just rather not have gotten. They were obnoxiously worded or sounded overly defensive. Just say “we’ve chosen to go with another candidate” – I don’t need you to list out your reasons why or repeat five times that I wasn’t chosen in five different ways when its just generic C&P letter. I’ve also found these tend to come late as well. I’m exaggerating a little here of course, and I understand they do it in fear of the candidates that will snap back all the reasons they should have chosen them or wanting to know why… but ugh. So awkward sometimes.

      1. HLA*

        Just a note (and I’m not saying it is a good thing, just explaining), as someone who has been on many selection committees sometimes the rejection letters come late because of HR processes. For instance, at my current place of employment we do hard copy letters for all NFCs (No further Consideration) and while our committee updates the EEO website to show that candidates have been NFC-ed, the letters are all printed and sent by HR, based on HR requirements, after a final candidate is selected. We do take care to respond to all candidates as quickly as possible about their status in the process, but the HR process also means that if they have been updated personally by our committee about their status in our search before we select a final candidate they may receive the official rejection letter well after they know they are out of the process. Again, not saying this isn’t frustrating as a candidate, but HR processes can significantly impact communication with candidates.

      2. Louisa*

        I know. The worst rejection letter was from a college in Seattle that ended with the phrase: “….we hope you find a job you are actually qualified for”. Nice.

      3. SandyCheeks*

        My personal favorite is when I get those obnoxious letters stating I was not qualified even thought I met EVERY qualification listed to include all of the “desired” qualifications. This happened to me recently and I was so shocked by their stupidity that I attempted to reply back to the email listing all of the qualifications for the position and detailed how I met every single one. I gave up after 2 pages as I realized that not only will no one take the time to read it but I figured that whoever is doing the hiring has the reading comprehension of a 3 year old. I don’t want to work for morons so I’m thinking it might be a blessing in disguise.

      4. DiiDii*

        Thank you! I got those letters too, before, I used to take it personally and now, I don’t feel that way. I will continue to apply and interview until I land a job. With the rest, it will not matter even though I’ve applied over 40 jobs within three weeks. Stay optimistic and good things will happen for you!

  2. B*

    This is me…right now! Everything was fast fast fast and now it’s wait and see. Obviously still looking but :-/.

    1. Still Waiting*

      How long as it been? I had one friend have who waited almost 4 weeks and she heard back, and it was a job offer!

  3. Ash (the other one!)*

    Regardless of the reason, the waiting period is the worst. THE WORST. I am so frustrated with it.

    1. HLA*

      Selection processes are always so stressful as a candidate. Unless you immediately hear back from an institution after interviewing and get the exact job you want it can be so disheartening. It’s like when you are romantically interested in someone and are in that weird stage of wondering if they like you or not and just want it to be over either way so you can be excited or move on. Hang in there!

  4. College Career Counselor*

    I’ve experienced 2, 3, and 5 at various times in my career. Keep looking until you’ve accepted an offer is the way to approach things!

  5. Leah*

    Agreed. I can see the writing on the wall when they don’t get back to me after a while but it is still discourteous. I once had an interviewer tell me (after a 2 hour interview), “I am only interviewing 3 people so you will definitely hear back either way. We are really swamped with work and aren’t big enough to have an HR person so if you don’t hear from me by next Friday, please email me because I may have actually forgotten to do anything.” That Friday came and went so I sent a brief, “check-in” email and never hear back. I tried a week later and never heard anything. Found out through the grapevine they’d hired someone else.

    If you have the time to bring me in for a 2 hour interview, you can surely send out a “Thanks for your interest…such great candidates…etc” email. Even copy-pasted from the internet would be better than nothing.

    1. Audiophile*

      This. People really need to stop saying ‘you’ll hear back from me either way’ because now when I hear it I think ‘no I won’t. So why bother saying it?’

      1. Kay*

        Definitely. It’s just like when an acquaintance says “Oh, we should hang out sometime”. I automatically think, “yeah, that’s never going to happen because sometimes =/= actual plans”.

        1. Felicia*

          That’s one of the great comparisons between job hunting and dating….”you’ll hear back from me either way.” is the equivalent of “I’ll call you! Let’s do it again sometime!” at the end of a date.

          1. Kay*

            YES! Part of how you know it’s a good date is you both start figuring out *when* you’ll see each other again instead of the amorphous “sometime”.

            I know that’s probably different with jobs (for all the reasons in the article), but it’s almost disingenuous to say you’ll let me know either way and then not. I think a lot of people have good intentions, but lack the follow through. It really tells me something positive about a company who does contact me back even if it’s for a rejection.

            1. Felicia*

              A company that sends a polite rejection, I would consider applying to again after gaining more experience/for a position that’s a better fit. If they don’t contact me at all after an interview, if I had a choice I’d never apply there again, and would probably be hesitant to even use their products and services, especially if the interview was especially time consuming/memorable, and they lied and said “i’ll get back to you either way”

          2. Windchime*

            Yep. It’s like when the guy says at the end of a date, “I’ll call you!”. It’s just a polite thing that people say and it doesn’t mean anything.

      2. OriginalYup*

        Whenever someone says that, I always hear Chandler Bing uncontrollably blurting, “This was great, I’ll give you a call, we should do it again sometime!” at the end of terrible dates. He just can’t stop himself.

      3. Greg*

        Actually, when I’m hiring people I say that specifically to commit myself to get back to them. It’s bad enough not to respond to candidates, but it’s even worse to not do it after you specifically promised you would. So when I don’t feel like doing it, I remind myself of my commitment and just get it done.

        That said, I’ve definitely been guilty of going on “employer time” rather than “candidate time”. My new rule is that, if I know a candidate isn’t going to be hired, I’ll let them know fairly quickly rather than waiting until the end of the process.

        Meanwhile, from the other side of the table, AAM’s advice to mentally move on from a job once you’ve done everything you can do is really valuable. It really is a question of mental energy; your inclination is to spend a lot of time thinking about the job you just interviewed for, but if you instead move on and start thinking of ways to re-fill the funnel with new leads, you’ll be much less stressed, and in a much better position if that first job falls through.

        1. Dave*

          As I have stated previously, this type of thing cuts down on the calls you may receive if you don’t get back to candidates in a timely fashion.

          In my mind, I would think it could save time – someone has to answer all the calls of “has a decision been made yet?” If you brought in 10 people, and they follow up week or two or something, it adds up. If you know that 4-5 aren’t going to be a good fit, just say so as soon as possible.

  6. Ohio CPA*

    I’m playing the waiting game right now with this. Good to have some insight on what might be happening on the other side.

  7. AnotherAlison*

    One of the ones that annoyed me the most was when a hiring manager tracked me down, called me personally and had 2 long phone conversations, invited me to apply (which I did, even though I didn’t think it was a great fit), offered to take me to lunch to talk more about the position when I was on the fence about applying (didn’t go), interviewed me with seven people, gave me the standard “You’ll hear back in a couple weeks,” and then left me hanging for 2 months and had a different HR rep than I originally dealt with call and tell me they went with an internal candidate. It wasn’t even that long — probably a reasonable amount of time for them to finish the hiring process — but what annoyed me was the ridiculously personal pursuit and then the impersonal rejection. I wouldn’t have taken an offer anyway. The hiring manager was a good guy, but his team members were mostly dicks.

  8. Artemesia*

    I ran a search with a couple of hundred applicants and it was clear from the start that about half were not at all in the ball park. They had the advanced degree required but they misunderstood what we needed (I won’t go into detail but basically we were a type of department where a degree and experience in X would seem desirable, but we were specifically looking for a degree and experience in Y. The ad said that but was broad enough that I don’t fault the applicants who were not appropriate from thinking they might be. Imagine a law firm that doesn’t want people with law degrees for example)

    I wanted to immediately send rejects to all those who were immediately discarded but the Division director insisted that no notices be sent until the process was complete — which took many many weeks i.e. several months. Same thing occurred after the phone screen where we were not allowed to send rejects until the final hire was made. (more of an excuse there since we might have gone back to that pool if the in person interviews had not worked out)

    I think when people are cut early, they need notice. And when it drags on those who haven’t made it to the next step need notice but there are bosses out there who don’t want any info going out ‘just in case’ they want to go back to the pool.

    1. fposte*

      Yeah, I don’t like doing that. I figure if I do need to ask in somebody I already rejected, I can still ask them–that will just be a pleasant surprise to them. And we wouldn’t be guaranteed of their availability either way, so why leave them hanging?

    2. Joey*

      Ask why? It doesn’t make sense to keep “definitely no’s” hanging. And I’ve never seen anyone who was challenged on it actually be able to articulate a reason with any substance.

      1. fposte*

        I think it’s kind of a hoarding mentality, and I speak as one who has that mentality. It feels like you’re cutting yourself off from possibilities to send out rejections.

        However, as I said upthread, I manage anyway, because it needs to be done, and I figure I can always ask them in again if I want to, rejection or no.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Have you ever called someone you’ve rejected previously?

          The only time I can see this working well in practice is if you made an arbitrary rejection based on a blanket qualification without individually reviewing those resumes first, like rejecting anyone with less than 10 years experience. (We’ll assume you were looking for 12-20 yrs.) Then, when not finding someone you really clicked with, you reviewed resumes in the 8-9 yr experience group and found a few worth considering.

          Otherwise, if you’ve really considered the resume and it doesn’t sit right, I feel like you’ll never actually hire the candidate, so don’t waste their time! I’ve had a similar experience when I’ve been the candidate interviewed 3x by the HM. You get the sense after the first time that you aren’t what he wants, but he can’t make up his mind. I really do believe people make up their mind about you immediately, and anything after that is wasting time. (I think that in practice, if they hired you, it might work out just fine, but they don’t change they’re mind from their immediate impressions for a long time, imho anyway.)

          1. Jen RO*

            When I was hired, my company had the policy outlined by Artemesia. They only notified the rejected candidates after the new employee started working. They have since changed it, and they reject candidate sooner.

            In my department there *has* been one situation when a rejected candidate was ultimately hired. Two candidates were the top contenders: one had a degree that was a nice-to-have, the other seemed to be more enthusiastic and eager to learn (the position was entry-level). In the end, the candidate with the degree was chosen and the other one was rejected. A few months later, the same position opened up in another team; the position was offered to the runner-up, and she accepted it.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              Ok, well there’s that situation too. I think that is a little different. It’s acutally the one time in history that a company “kept your application on file” and used it!

              I guess I can see it for more entry level positions, because there are more “all things being equal” situations. I am looking at it through my own lens of a more specialized mid-to-senior position, like you want an ops manager, and you have a candidate with 5 yrs ops mgmt experience and 5 yrs R&D experience, when you really wanted someone with 10 years ops mgmt experience. You reject the guy, your other top 3 fall through, and you kind of want to kick the tires, but should you? Would you ever really get over the idea that he’s short on his operations experience? He gets all excited about it, just so you can confirm your suspicions that he was a terrible fit. : )

          2. some1*

            I got a job this way. It was the same position in a different department, and I had to re-interview, but, yes, it happens. That’s why it’s a good idea for employers to contact passed-over candidates and for candidates to respond to rejections graciously.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              Okay, okay, you’re all proving me wrong! : )

              I really mean when HM #1 rejects candidate A and then calls them up in the same round of hiring, AND hires them. A second HM might not have the same initial reservations about a candidate, or they just may be a better fit for the different position. To me, that’s almost like starting fresh as a candidate.

              (I also thought about how we sometimes have projects get cancelled, so if I reject you, it’s because I am not hiring anyone. I might call you up again if another project starts & we still needed the same position, but it rarely happens that someone gets hired that way, though, because other existing people become available as other things wrap up and we don’t have to add staff or the original candidates have found something else.)

              1. some1*

                No, I’ve never heard of someone getting rejected in a round of hiring and ultimately offered the position, just situations like mine or a candidate getting an offer after a 1st choice turned it down, or the 1st choice gets hired but doesn’t work out so #2 gets an offer.

                1. some1*

                  ETA: So I see your point, if you know for sure you won’t hire a particular candidate for that role no matter what, there’s no reason not to wait on rejecting them.

    3. Dave*

      What really irks me is when companies do this and then turn around and say “don’t call us, we’ll call you!”

      Well, if you just told people they were out of the running, reasonable people would not bother you every 2-3 weeks asking for a status update.

      1. Mimmy*

        I like application acknowledgements–or even job postings–that explicitly say something like, “due to the high volume of applications we get, we cannot speak with every applicant. We will contact you if you’ll be invited in for an interview”.

  9. thenoiseinspace*

    The best advice I ever heard on dissuading people from following up multiple times after interviews (which I’m pretty sure I read on here, though I don’t remember if it was i a post or the comments) was “If you’re a real candidate, they won’t forget about you.” It’s not like your email will make them think, “Oh yeah, I remember him! We should call him again!” Remembering that has helped me any time I get antsy about a second follow-up.

    1. Joey*

      That’s not necessarily true though when there are lots of really good candidates. Although I agree trying to find a way to stand out AFTER you’ve applied is rarely going to go well. You have to find a way to stand out ON the app/résumé/cover letter.

      1. thenoiseinspace*

        Right, that’s what I mean – if after the interview you’re still “forgettable,” you’re probably not going to get the position. And if you were one of their top candidates, they’re not going to forget you – I mean, nobody’s going to say “I really want to hire that one guy, what was his name? Oh well, can’t remember” (and if they WERE that disorganized, that’s a huge red flag too.)

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          True, but if you’re not going to get the job anyway, what’s the harm in sending a short email? Maybe it will at least prompt a response. If you ARE still in the running, it’s doubtful a couple of friendly check-in emails would change things…

          1. Greg*

            I agree, but in that case, you should be clear about why you’re following up. It’s not to affect the outcome, it’s to give yourself peace of mind. Which is totally legitimate, but thenoiseinspace is right that people manage to convince themselves that following up will somehow improve their chances of getting the job.

  10. Katie the Fed*

    Lies, all lies. We just like to mess with candidates’ heads. Being evil is one of the few perks of management.

  11. KJR*

    I notify every person I interview. I will admit some of the responses I’ve gotten make me wish I didn’t. Accusations of discrimination, candidates demanding to know WHY they weren’t hired when they were obviously the most qualified are two examples. So, from the other side of it, I understand the reticence on the part of some interviewers. It’s an easy way to avoid confrontation. However, I look at as a necessary courtesy and part of my job, although an unpleasant one.

    1. Dave*

      While I think this is unprofessional behavior, I can understand why people do this. Many are in bad, even desperate situations and feel they can do the job.

      Most reasonable people know that they have limitations, and that they don’t know how well others interviewed or what their qualifications are.

      Unfortunately, not getting a job you really want is part of life.

    2. the_scientist*

      Yes. This is the price to be paid for sending out rejections and I imagine that many people will hide behind this if asked why they don’t send rejections. However, it’s pretty easy to ignore an angry email.

      1. Anonymous*

        Oh, one of the things that may happen is if you reject someone with dignity, they may go and recommend someone else who may be more qualified for the position or any future positions.

      2. fposte*

        Exactly. I think it’s less of a problem for me to ignore an angry email than it is for a job-seeker to go unnotified of our decision.

        1. Joey*

          It may not surprise you, but I like to use those angry responses as an opportunity to more clearly communicate the rationale. My first response is more focused on being nice, first and staying away from anything that might potentially be embarrassing. If that’s challenged in an aggressive way I like to put all question to rest and will be as blunt as I can be without being mean.

          1. fposte*

            To be honest, it’s almost entirely theoretical for me–I’ve gotten maybe one hostile response over the years. Most of my hiring is from a community that I will undoubtedly see again, and both sides tend to be averse to burning bridges.

            So while you’re likelier to be blunter than I am generally, I’d be blunter with your crowd than with mine, too.

    3. Joey*

      Well the good thing is when you give them a definite reason (even if its not totally clear) you’re going on record for legal purposes which is good evidence of the true reason for not hiring the person…as long as the reason is true of course. Obviously it comes back to bite you if you say something like “we hired someone with more experience” and it’s not factually accurate.

  12. Anonymous Educator*

    Employers who do not hire people they’ve actually interviewed should definitely send at least a form email to say you didn’t get the job.

    I’ve had a couple situations in which I did a full-day visit to a potential employer, met with over 15 different people, and then never heard back from the pot. emp. again. In one case, I followed up months later to ask what the update was, and I heard something like “You were in our top three, but we decided to go with someone else.” Really? You couldn’t let the other two people know they didn’t make the cut?

    On the flip side, I’ve gotten two jobs after hearing nothing for a long while.

    In one case, I applied for a job I was in no way qualified (at least on paper) for, and I didn’t hear back for two months. When my future boss called for a first phone interview, I thought to myself What is this job again? Did I apply for this?. (Fortunately, sometimes the cliché is true, and sometimes people are fast learners, so I got up and running quickly there.) I always assumed they took so long to get back to me because they pursued more qualified candidates, and those candidates didn’t work out.

    In another case, I got several phone/Skype interviews with a potential employer, and then I heard nothing for over a month and assumed I hadn’t gotten the job. Then they suddenly did a few more follow-up interviews, and offered it to me.

    So, not worth holding your breath over, but sometimes you can hear nothing for a long time… and actually get the job. All the more reason for potential employers to send rejection emails, even if just form emails.

  13. Jean*

    Sooner or later one of these tricks gets me unstuck from the hamster wheel of obsession and/or self-pity:
    1- forget about it and move on
    2- distract myself by applying to the next job so that if/when the first job rejects me, I have another possible acceptance already “out there”
    3- reread Allison’s words about forgetting it and moving on
    4- pretend that yes, I’m hired–and start doing any chores I would want to complete before my first day on the job
    5-give in to the gloom and chomp on carbohydrates while surfing the web until I get sick of being miserable
    6- console myself that if the company is this aggravating during the application stage it’s for the best that I _don’t_ get hired!

    Too long to read/summary:
    It’s hard work to find a job. It’s okay to minimize your misery.
    Moving on and forgetting about each application is better than not moving on and obsessing.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I really like #4. . .I’m employed, so whenever I’ve been close in the process, I always have a little panic about properly filing away all those files I’ve been saving to my desktop for six months or documenting all my processes. How we do things is documented at the macro level, but not at the level for someone to do exactly what I have done. (My job didn’t exist before me, and my boss is a bit of an absentee manager, so you can imagine what a mess we could have after six years if I just walked away.)

  14. Poohbear McGriddles*

    I once interview for a job where they told me they were looking to bring in “new blood”. After a few months of radio silence, I get a call from the hiring manager letting me know that they decided to go with someone who used to work for them instead. Okay, makes sense – except that you told me that was exactly what you were trying not to do!

    When I applied to my current job, a couple months went by where I heard nothing. Then I got an email from the recruiter asking for my resume. Then a couple more months of nothing. But wouldn’t you know it, when they did decide to move it was very quickly! Turns out they had hired a guy who looked good on paper but had too many skeletons in his closet.

    1. Jen RO*

      Well, especially in large companies, things… change. A couple of months ago, the corporate policy of my ex-company was “only hire juniors”. I thought that was true, so when they started hiring again I didn’t even think of applying, because I wanted more than a junior salary! Well, it turns out that they *were* open to hiring senior people, if they could justify it… and I (re)start in a week!

  15. Malissa*

    I know there are no hiring managers on here that would do #5. But just in case you think about it, think about this:
    Say you are a company that sells farm equipment. That candidate who took time away from their current job to come in and spend hour(s) in your office to interview may also be applying to that huge corporate farm just outside of town. If you do not have the courtesy to get back to them after an interview, and they get hired by the big farm, do you think they’ll forget that when the farm is looking to buy a combine?
    It really does pay to treat a candidate like a person whom you may have to do future business with.

    1. Dave*

      And with the advent of websites of Glass Door, one can quickly hurt the reputation of the company. Or make someone think twice.

      1. Traveler*

        Speaking of Glass Door – I never know how seriously to take the reviews. Sometimes they sound legitimate but other times just legitimately bitter. I don’t know if its because they were truly wronged, or they’re one of those “is this legal???” types who don’t understand it wasn’t as bad as they thought because they don’t have the context for it.

        1. De Minimis*

          I take them more seriously if there are a ton of reviews [mainly with bigger companies,] or if it seems pretty clear that multiple people are encountering the same issues, as I saw with a small firm where I used to live…

          1. Dave*

            Oh, and I encourage people to write a review because of this. If most everyone wrote a review, it would provide more data points.

            Sure, you may get angry responses but if some of their experiences line up with others, who write a well thought out response, then I would think everything would be good.

        2. Dave*

          I have found that some of the bitter responses have nuggets of truth to them.

          For example, I read one that was annoyed/mad because they were asking questions that he felt were for more senior people. He did list the topics that they asked about. While maybe more advanced, I think it may be a reasonable expectation to know something about those things. In the end, I was able to prepare for those topics.

          Secondly, I think if some of the same things are repeated several times, there has to be some truth.

  16. Kimberley*

    While I do not contact every applicant, I do make it a point to connect with everyone who was interviewed. I’ve been reading this blog long enough to know better. Since I typically only interview 3 – 5 candidates, it’s really not that hard to send a personalized “thanks, but no thanks” e-mail.

    1. Jean*

      Thank you for setting a good example! I hope your contacts internalize the experience and pay it foward when it is their turn to communicate hiring decisions.

  17. Still Waiting*

    I *guess* I understand not hearing back after one interview. I just went through two complete full circle all day interviews, within a week of each other. The last (and final of the interviews) was with the company President. I would imagine that at least would make me a final candidate. It has been over a month now since the last round of interviews and nothing. I made a follow up call to the one VP and another to the recruiter, and neither could bother to update me, for whatever the reason. Sad. Of course, I am moving on and applying elsewhere. I burned two vacation days for the interviews not to mention $$$ on two new suits. I will have the suits for next time, but I am still feeling the sting.

    1. GloScot*

      Still Waiting,

      I am in the exact spot (though I would think that after more than a year you are gainfully and happily employed.)

      I made the cut for interviews. Yesterday marked four weeks since I drove 120 miles to the other side of the state to interview. This one is specialized and is a state-wide position. I have been doing the exact same work for a regional office but I admitted have some things to learn. I have known two of the three interviewers for more than 10 years. Still…I wait. I was one probably five who were interviewed. I don’t see why it takes so long to communicate something. Just tell me I am not in the top two or something so I can move on.

  18. Holly Short*

    I’d like to share my recent experience and to say that I can certainly relate to no. 4 on the article as that is what I experienced recently; that they’re talking to the selected person and not able to reject the other candidates yet until the selection is formalized.

    I was out of the state candidate and flew willingly (on my own expense) to the city for the interview in April. I prepared ahead of time, and used lots of Allison’s tips on interview preparation. I knew going in that I would have lots of good competition from the other candidates (and from internal candidates as well). I was appreciative that the employer thought I was a strong enough candidate to consider my application considering I was out of the state candidate. The interview went well (from my perspective) and using Allison’s tip before leaving the interview, I asked about their timeline on the next step in the hiring process. I was told two weeks, and after two weeks they will notify the candidates. I sent a ‘follow up/thank you’ email one day after the interview and reiterated my interest in the position.

    Two weeks passed beyond the timeline given to me and I didn’t hear anything, no letter and no phone call. I knew that I must have not been the selected person at this point because I would have been contacted within the 2 weeks’ timeline. I was still waiting for a letter of rejection, for closure. I re-read Allison’s post on ‘How Long Should You Wait to Move On When You Haven’t Heard Back From An Employer? (July 27, 2012) (Hint: Move on now, don’t wait) and ‘How Not To Reject Job Candidates’ (Sept 3, 2013). One of the ‘how not to reject candidates’ methods is to not call the candidate.

    I received a phone call on the 3rd week mark from the employer. What Allison said about receiving a call from the employer happened to me, the false hope that the call was a call to tell me I got the job. The hiring manager told me he was giving me a courtesy phone call to thank me for flying in for the interview and to let me know that unfortunately I am not selected for the position (to tell you the truth, I didn’t know how to handle this type of call, all I could say to the hiring manager was that I really appreciate the call) and that I will receive a letter from them about it. What the hiring manager told me next, was another thing that was unexpected, that he and the other panel member were impressed with me and they interested in knowing if I could consider a position in another city (although this is not an offer from them, they just asked me about it). The hiring manager also told me that I did well at the interview and that they would give me heads up on future openings within their department and they will keep me in mind for any future opportunities.

    I interviewed for two other positions before one with the same employer, and this is the first time I had the hiring manager called me to reject me, but also to tell me that they like me and willing to consider me for future opportunities.

    I sent an email to the hiring manager after the phone call, letting him know that I appreciate his phone call to me and the feedback he gave me on how I did at the interview and to also let him know that I am interested in learning about the job opportunity he mentioned on the phone. I didn’t receive any reply. I understand he is not obligated to reply and I am already moving on.

    I see now how a job interview can also be good opportunity for networking. Looks like this one is a good example of the chance to network and make connection.

    Good luck everybody!

  19. K.C.*

    I swear, it’s like you were reading my mind when you posted this, AAM! I’m a long-time reader. Your blog has been such a help to me through a very tough job, especially over the past year.

    I had an interview on April 22nd for a job I really want and am very excited for, thought it went great, and it’s been radio silence since. I even left a voicemail for them yesterday to check in and still nothing. Reading this article did help me feel a little better. Thanks so much for sharing!

    It really restores my faith in employers to know that managers like you exist. I’ve spent the past year being bullied and harassed by my supervisor and manager as a tag-team and it’s been emotionally degrading. I’m happy to know that I have a chance at working with a manager like you and I won’t always be getting managers like the one I just worked with.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Aw, thank you. Hang in there — whether it’s this job or something else, you’ll eventually find yourself somewhere better!

    2. Ruffingit*

      Oh man, AMEN! It is nice to know that managers exist who are not insane, hostile, abusive, etc. I’ve worked for way more than my share of crazy and it’s demoralizing and depressing. So I join you in the thankfulness for knowing there is hope.

      Hang in there KC. I spent almost six months with an abusive and bullying manager who made life miserable. It was incredibly difficult to come into work each day knowing what I was going to face. I know how you feel. Stay strong. There truly is hope. HUGS!

  20. Anonymous (the other one)*

    I posted in an open thread about my experience where the job interviewer sent me an email promising to get back to me and then never did until a friend of mine, who works there and was training with that job interviewer, mentioned me to her and suddenly I received an email about how they’d gone with another candidate.

    It just isn’t that hard to send an email letting your candidate pool know that they weren’t chosen. I really look down upon this interviewer now in the sense that I have little respect for someone who sends a rejection email only after being shamed into it (in a sense).

    1. Dave*

      I have been contacted by people for job opportunities, and for what ever reason it didn’t work out.

      Depending on how I was treated, I sometimes would refer a friend /colleague to them who may be a better fit.

  21. Jackie*

    Oooo, this was AMAZING! I’m in exactly this position right now.

    I apply for every job with the general assumption that I’m not going to get it. It sounds cynical as heck; but as a rather anxious person, it keeps me from obsessing over any single position (no matter how great a fit I thought I was), and makes it easier to move on to the next thing. I have long wondered what was happening on the other end, though.

  22. Natalia*

    By God it’s awful to be kept waiting for a response.

    I had sat for an interview a few weeks back that left me feeling very positive about my prospects into a role with a company I’ve always admired. After all, I am well qualified for the role I’ve applied for, with years of significant experience behind me. Yet now there’s silence…even after I had sent them an email and left them a couple of messages for their response.

    This is just cruel…very rude to say the least. Any feedback would have been sincerely appreciated.

  23. Cathy*

    I had an interview recently in which the interviewer was, I kid you not, 45 minutes late to my interview. I was told “She went to quickly drop something off” at a different school (I was interviewing for a high school position) and “she should be back soon.” I spent 45 minutes waiting and listening to the secretary tell me about her deathly allergic reaction to bees. I might have gotten an apology from the interviewer, but it was an afterthought. Then in the interview, even though I know I confidently and knowledgably answered her questions, she seemed to want to find an issue or twist my response in a way that would make me a bad fit. Which I was not. The interview lasted 45 minutes. I found out that she had chosen a candidate from within the district.

    Now I’m waiting to hear back after an interview in which I really want the job, but am not confident of how the interview went. Two of the three interviewers seemed aloof and it was hard to tell where they were coming from. I was also operating from choppy sleep as my 4 year old woke me up 3 times due to bad dreams. I think I did OK, but I think I’ve done better and I was not operating on all cylinders. Sigh. The waiting is the worst. Worst. Worst. Worst.

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