I had a great interview — why haven’t I heard anything back?

You had a great job interview, nailed every question, and left feeling optimistic about your chances of getting an offer. Your interviewer told you they would get back to you either way next week, but now it’s been two weeks and all you’ve heard is silence. Should you follow up with them? Is the silence supposed to be their answer? And why won’t they just get back to you with an answer like they said they would!?

Since I started writing Ask a Manager over a decade ago, I’ve probably received more letters from frustrated job seekers about this experience than any other. It’s incredibly common for employers to assure candidates that they’ll be back in touch within a specific timeframe and then end up overshooting that by weeks or even in some cases months. And that’s if they get back to you at all; many of them don’t and instead just ghost applicants completely, even after multiple rounds of interviews.

At New York Magazine today, I wrote about why employers do this and what it means for how you should approach your job search. You can read it here.

{ 76 comments… read them below }

  1. Chairman of the Bored*

    In my experience as a hiring manager, the most common cause of a delay getting back to a good applicant is some director or VP who thinks they’re a genius holding things up waiting for their feedback or approval even though they:
    -Didn’t participate in any interviews
    -Will rarely interact with my new hire
    -Don’t understand even the basic details of the job.

    They seemingly just want to have a finger in every pie and/or show everybody how smart and involved they are.

    It’s frustrating for me, and I’m sure it’s even worse for the job applicant.

    1. NeedRain47*

      Delays are… fine, I mean people understand that bureaucracy is a slow thing. Ghosting is just rude.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        When does it step over the line though? Last time I was interviewing, I had first and second round interviews for 2 companies at nearly the same time. I had signed an offer and started with one of them by the time I received the round 2 rejection from the other, nearly 1.5 months later. I understand they might have been waiting until they filled the post but it was very frustrating.

        1. NeedRain47*

          If you don’t hear from them promptly, move on. Take it as a sign that they’re disorganized and you didn’t want to work there anyway.

    2. Aggretsuko*

      My office has added more and more interviews into the process–as has every office at my giant organization, apparently–and I can’t help but think, why are they having the head of our office interview the person (note: privately, head isn’t in on a group interview)? The head rarely interacts with anyone and we only see him on Zoom once a month. He’s not going to know if the person can do the job or not, why is he getting a say?

    3. CSRoadWarrior*

      Your experience shows it is not always the hiring manager’s fault, and sometimes it is beyond your control. I can’t imagine if a hiring manager really thinks this person is a great fit, and is forced to wait because of the higher ups.

      Whatever it is, it is a no-win situation for both the hiring manager and the candidate. I can’t imagine how frustrating is for both sides.

    4. Anon for this one*

      Yep. Or, in our case, pitching a fit that they weren’t consulted (they were) and telling us to pull the position. To the excellent candidates that HR ghosted: it wasn’t you, it was us. Please consider it a bullet dodged.

      1. Ghost*

        At my previous (dysfunctional) job, as the hiring manager, I was forbidden to tell people they did not get the job – that was up to HR. Which I am not sure they ever did. But in particular, we had some “always open” postings – which since they never closed, I know HR never contacted anyone.

  2. Should stop changing names*

    I’m in this situation right now… my last interview was 3 weeks ago and I think it was really good but haven’t heard anything back. This morning I sent a mail asking for an updated timeline and this is the last time they will hear from me (in a good way, if they reach out I am still interestested, just won’t send any more follow ups).

    Wish me luck, I really like this company and the job description sounds incredibly aligned with my skills and goals.

  3. NameRequired*

    The thing that grated most on me was the interviewers who assured me they were not going to ghost me and they would get back to me one way or another by (date)… and then proceeded to totally ghost me.

    1. NeedRain47*

      I was just posting about this, why not add some gaslighting first, then a good ghosting.

      1. Bob*

        it takes our HR department roughly a month to sign off on appointments and then there’s two weeks of merit and equity…

        we can’t even officially say that you’re the preferred applicant for six weeks after the interview most of the time.

        1. NameRequired*

          That’s fair! If you know that’s your timeline, you should tell your candidates what to expect, but the long processing time isn’t what I personally am upset about. It’s the people who promise that they’ll get back to you, that they won’t leave you hanging, and then do exactly that that I take issue with.

    2. Aggretsuko*

      Everybody ghosts. You learn not to believe anyone when they say anything any more.

    3. Delta Delta*

      I interviewed at a company. They said they’d call me on Monday. That was 23 years ago and I still haven’t heard so I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the job.

      1. LB33*

        If they didn’t say “next” Monday you might still be in the running. Just remember when it comes time to negotiate salary, things are much more expensive than in 1990, and don’t believe it when they say you’ll have your own personal fax #

      2. Reluctant Mezzo*

        Ha, publishing is like that. My son-in-law sent a manuscript to an editor at a well-known publishing with the backing of a Really Well Known Name.

        That was ten years ago. I think they just lost it, myself.

        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          Unsolicited manuscripts (and songs and sheet music as well) are often trashed – publishers don’t even want to SEE them , lest they stumble into an idea on their own and they get accused of plagiarism.

    4. Hi, I’m Troy McClure*

      I wish there was some way to hold these people accountable for the appalling way they treat job seekers. It’s so disgusting. I recognize that individual hiring managers are often stuck with BS, but we need to change how things work as a whole.

    5. Wendy Darling*

      I interviewed with a guy who assured me he wouldn’t ghost me, he hated ghosting people, he would definitely get back to me by Friday even if it was to say they needed more time.

      Finally got a rejection email EIGHT MONTHS LATER when they closed the job out in their ATS. I was a referral from a current employee and he complained about it after they’d left me hanging for two months and that still didn’t get me a response.

      At that point the rejection only served to remind me that they sucked. I was six months into a different job at that point!

  4. NeedRain47*

    I think I’ve only had one really good interview where they *didn’t* ghost me. It’s pretty gross to put someone through three rounds of interviews and never even say “no thank you.”

    All three or so times I’ve had stellar interviews and not got the job, I’ve found out later that it went to an internal candidate.

    The most recent interview, the guy was super careful to tell me that I would hear either way, in a way that sounded like they’d had criticism about not contacting folks…. yet it’s been three months and I never heard from them. (it was not a great interview, but still.)

    1. Angstrom*

      Then there’s the special joy of having your own HR ghost you after you interview for an internal position….

      1. AnonPi*

        Even worse for an internal job when HR has told you to expect an email from an admin in the next day or two to schedule a 2nd interview, then crickets. And you contact both HR and the admin two weeks later because you never heard from them, and still no response. I eventually heard from former coworker that had moved to that division that the job was on hold. Like, they couldn’t have just told me that rather than ghosting me? Almost a year later and I still haven’t officially heard anything and it’s still listed as in progress.

        1. NeedRain47*

          Sometimes they are hoping that the job will not be on hold for long and they’ll be able to get back to you before a stupid amount of time has passed…. but it never works out that way. (based on prior experience at academic institution.)

      2. MissAmandaJones*

        I especially love applying for an internal position that I’m not only highly qualified for, but have department referrals, and don’t even get an interview.
        Then again, getting a generic rejection on Christmas was last year’s most memorable gift.

      3. Autumnheart*

        Heh. I had a manager who was on the hiring committee for a position I was interested in applying for, and he refused to interview me. Which he didn’t tell me himself–I had to hear from HR that I wouldn’t be moving forward in the process.

        I took another internal position ASAP to get away from that guy.

  5. ThatGirl*

    My favorite “not technically ghosting” was when a job I’d had multiple interviews for didn’t contact me for months… and then I got a templated rejection postcard in the mail like 6 months later.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Yeah, I just had to laugh at that point – this was 2008 so email was definitely a thing, and I’ve gotten plenty of form rejection emails… but never before or since have I gotten a postcard!

    1. CSRoadWarrior*

      I had the same thing happen to me, except it came in a letter – inside an envelope and all. I read it, tore it up without hesitation, and threw it in the trash.

    2. AngryOctopus*

      Weird! I got a slew of rejections back in the day, from an automated system–all that told me was that their hiring took forever, because it was something like 6-9 months after my applications. TBH I had already forgotten about most of them, and had had a temp job and then gotten hired full time somewhere in the meantime! And they were all email, not an actual mailed postcard!

    3. JerseyMike*

      Similar experience here! Had multiple interviews for a job (three rounds of interviews with six people total) and didn’t hear anything, despite being told they wanted to fill the role quickly. Interviews were in early October; at the end of March, I got a generic rejection email.

  6. Attic Wife*

    I was once ghosted after an interview but they continue to send me marketing materials to pass on to my students. The brochure they sent had a significant misspelling and it took all that I had not to circle it with red pen and send it back.

      1. Attic Wife*

        I wish I had thought of that. Truthfully, this is one of those degree programs where everyone seems to know each other so I did not want to burn any bridges.

  7. Queen Ruby*

    I interviewed with a company that had me do 2 phone screens, an on-site with 3 people including the hiring manager, another on-site with 3 other people who didn’t seem like they’d interact much with the position, and then a 3rd on-site with the CEO….who canceled the interview 15 minutes after it was supposed to start. All while telling me I had a background they couldn’t find anywhere else, that I was a unicorn, etc.
    I followed up a couple weeks after the last (canceled) interview, but got no response. A few weeks later I followed up again. It was over a holiday and I knew the hiring manager was OOO, so figured I’d check in again. Within minutes I received the generic “thanks, but no thanks” email. What a waste of time and energy.

  8. RJ*

    I just don’t believe recruiters or hiring managers anymore. If I like a job, I will follow-up three times and if I don’t hear back, I move on to the next. There’s been too much ghosting in my search for me to invest emotionally in any one job, unless they follow up with me or indicate interest by staying in contact.

  9. YM*

    This is one the biggest adjustments I had to get used to when going from private to public sector. The hiring process is ridiculously, unnecessarily, bordering on evilly, long. I interviewed for my current role June 2022 and was made an offer in October 2022 and I was shocked at how quick it was. One job there was a full year between interview and offer, and another one there was 18 months between applying and interviewing. That 18 month period included several tests. And no, it wasn’t for an intelligence or enforcement agency. That’s just standard. Absolutely makes me insane.

    Now they’ve taken to doing recorded interviews where you don’t actually speak with a person, but instead you log in to a site where the questions appear on the screen, you get a few minutes to gather your thoughts, and then you record yourself giving the answer. Sometimes you get more than one shot, sometimes not. So if you want to speak with a manager before investing more time in an already tedious process, then too bad. Just all around horrible hiring practices that are getting progressively worse.

    1. Chairman of the Bored*

      I’ve heard similar things from friends who work in government jobs, according to them the justification for the long and convoluted hiring process is “to make sure we’re getting the best of the best”.

      The actual “best of the best” generally aren’t going to wait around for 6-18 months and do an interview with an unresponsive computer screen.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        Exactly. I was hired into a Fed job over a year after I applied. I had moved jobs once in the interim and ended up leaving 6 months later. Ridiculous.

    2. Elle*

      Those video interviews where you’re talking to no one are the worst. I’m sure a number of great candidates get eliminated because of how awkward they seem.

      1. Autumnheart*

        Seems like a golden opportunity for bias, too. You don’t even have to say anything and the hiring committee already knows you’re a POC or female or visibly queer.

        1. Reluctant Mezzo*


          Like the movie Animal House, you’ll go sit over in a corner with the blind guy, the guy in the turban, the guy in the wheelchair…(yes, I’m old).

    3. NeedRain47*

      Oh my gawd, I will never be able to get a job again with that interview format. I thought “Zoom, but with everyone’s picture turned off so it’s like being on the phone” was bad enough.

    4. Megan*

      12 years and four jobs in, and I have yet to experience this. Fingers crossed I never do. Some states do have laws dictating how long a government entity must post a position, and even if/who they must interview. In my current state a position must be posted at least three days. I was invited to my most recent position, but they told me that they had to interview anyone who applied in those three days for legal reasons, and they could not guarantee me the job.

      18 months is absolutely unreasonable and disrespectful, but not at all surprising in spite of my personal experience.

  10. Sundari*

    It’s been my experience that if I have to keep emailing/checking in on the next step, I am not getting the job/the next interview. It’s kind of like that saying, “If he wanted to, he would.”

  11. never mind who I am*

    I found out that I didn’t get a job when the company sent me a postcard advertising the event that would have been part of my job. Then there was the organization that interviewed me as a possible fill-in for someone who was going on maternity leave. That was 1984, the baby would be almost 40 by now. Still haven’t heard back from them.

  12. Sara without an H*

    Higher ed is notorious for long hiring timelines. The number of administrators who have to sign off at each stage of the process is ridiculous.

    On one search committee I served on, we met with HR to go over the official hiring process and schedule. Even if everything went without a hitch, it would take nine months to fill a position.

    The bad jokes flew thick and fast.

    1. Chidi has a stomach ache*

      Yep — I remember when I was on the academic job market that I would really only hear from 25% of the jobs I applied to — that included the handful of jobs I got interviews for and those that sent an actual rejection. The other 75%, totally ghosted. One year, the auto-rejection for a job that posted in Aug of 2016 was sent out in Sept of 2017, right as I was gearing up for round 2 of the academic job market. I almost would have preferred being ghosted.

  13. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    Unfortunately, it’s all too common. I’ve learned to send my thank you note and move on quickly.

    I can count the handful of times I had personal responses if rejected. I realize this can be awkward, but if you’ve interviewed someone multiple times you should.

  14. AngryOctopus*

    The best rejection I ever got was when I was following up on a job for due diligence (I already had an offer I liked, and I wasn’t sure this job I was following up on would be good, but I wanted to see what they had to say), and my response was as follows:
    k, thanks for your interest but we have decided to go in another direction at this time
    signed, HR Jackass
    (he was a jackass, I hated interacting with him).
    Sir. Did you just address me by my first initial? In what is ostensibly a work correspondence? A nickname that ONLY my brother uses/is allowed to use? The hell?

    1. Kara*

      Are you referring to the “k”? I’d have personally interpreted it as shorthand for ok (which really isn’t an improvement, but does explain how they learned your familial nickname).

  15. JerseyMike*

    I’m in this situation right now. I had an interview, in-office, with six senior employees about four weeks ago, and it seemed to go swimmingly. Had a good rapport with the managing partner, and four former coworkers, including my direct supervisor, had reached out to their contacts there and vouched for me. HR immediately emailed me that I may hear from them next week … and then nothing.

    I sent a follow-up email about 2 weeks after asking if there were any updates, and they said they would let me know when they had any information. I’m debating whether/when it’s worth it to reach back out?

    Knowing the industry that I’m in and the general norms of this type of employer, rejections are usually pretty quick so I’m cautiously holding out hope that I might eventually get some good news.

  16. The Wizard Rincewind*

    Timely. I just sent a follow-up email to a place I’d interviewed with a few weeks ago saying that I enjoyed speaking with HR and am still interested in the position if I’m still being considered for it. We’ll see if I get any kind of response.

    Once, I sent the same sort of email (HR interview, promised follow-up timeline had gone well past) even though I already figured that they’d moved on. Within a minute of sending it to the HR rep’s email, I got an email from the automated career site saying “thanks but no thanks”. Either it’s an incredibly timely coincidence, or they saw my email and thought “whoops, forgot about that one” and pushed a few buttons in the software. I know it’s perhaps not warranted, but I felt insulted that they went that route instead of simply replying to the email that I just sent.

  17. Director of Llama Selection*

    The strangest ghosting I got was a hiring process with company A, where I was told that I was in the final two for a Llama Sorting role. I had a couple of final interviews and a background check, and then silence. A few weeks after my last contact with company A, I interviewed with company B for a similar job, and when they offered me the role, I took it.

    Both jobs put me in the same city, so unsurprisingly, I ran into company A’s new Llama Sorter, along with their Senior Llama Sorter (who I interviewed with as a part of the process, though they were not the one making the hiring decision) at a conference a few months after I started with company B. We had some good conversations about Llama Sorting, but that was about it.

    About six months after that, the Senior Llama Sorter reached out to me and asked for a meeting. They asked if I’d be interested in joining them in the newly vacant Llama Sorter role. I have no idea if they knew I’d been ghosted, but at this point I was pretty happy with company B, and politely declined.

    It’s all worked out well enough for me (and was perfectly logical for them to reach out when the first hire didn’t work out), but the whole thing just felt so strange at the time, considering how I had been ghosted at such a late stage.

    1. Still*

      Yeah, seriously, why would you ghost the runner-up? Chances are you might be interested in hiring them down the line, why not take the two minutes to send a polite email and preserve the relationship?

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*


        Now cut that out! STOP MAKING SENSE!

        What people don’t realize —

        1) The job / interview / HR process is one in which a company should be motivated to put its “best foot forward”. And not give a presentation which is unprofessional, or even abusive toward candidates. Yes, you can afford to do it AT THE TIME… but….

        2) You might create a situation in which your company looks like a circus full of clowns. And if YOU have to go looking for a job, and have Circus Clown Co. on your resume, you had better hope your interviewers never had contact with your firm.

        3) You also manage to hurt your company – if it deals in a service or product that your industry uses – and you condescendingly treat applicants – your sales rep might go knocking on doors to peddle your company’s wares and the door SLAMS…. “those clowns”…..

        There was a major software company that operated their HR – by design – like a zoo. Not only did it turn off applicants, but those angry applicants/rejectees would up in other places.

        When their reps went to sell, people remembered the way they were treated.

        When the company took the gas pipe , almost everyone in that company had a difficult time finding new opportunities. The smell/stigma stuck to them.

        So, be careful how you treat people. It could come back to haunt you.

  18. Scandinavian Vacationer*

    As a hiring manager for 15 years, I believe so much of this goes to the functions/rules of HR vs the hiring manager. People, if you are NEVER going to advance an applicant after the first interview, just let them go. Stop trying to keep them “warm” by not rejecting them. It does not help, and actively harms, your organization’s reputation. In the rare event that you may want to go back to a previous interviewee that’s been rejected, just go for it! “Our plans have changed, and now we wonder if you’re interested in XYZ role.” Not that hard, likely not that often, and you will garner so much good will/karma for actually letting applicants who have interviewed know their status.

    1. Artemesia*

      I was a hiring manager who was not allowed to reject the 300 people I had already removed from consideration ‘until someone is hired.’ I could see hanging on to the semi finalists, or the 6 phone screen finalists and certainly the three interview finalists — but those 300 were people I had decided did not fit the job at all. We winnowed the final 100 down to 10 and then 6 and then. 3. It was so aggravating — and of course it meant a few VERY qualified people in that 300 would then be calling me to try to understand why they were not getting interviews. (not sarcastic they were VERY qualified — just not for this niche and our overly general job description didn’t make that clear. I could not change that either due to some internal political issues that made it hard to be clear what we were actually looking for)

      Anyone who is discarded in early analysis should get an email dismissing the application; and asap with everyone else. We didn’t ghost, but we were a lot slower letting people know than we should have.

    2. Alternative Person*

      This. I have opinions about how the HR system at my job works, but the job application section actually does its job quite effectively. Every candidate receives a response and we have a mechanism to retain candidates there isn’t an immediate position for in the applicant pool, at least until the end of that hiring cycle.

  19. Off Plumb*

    I’m so grateful for being an AAM reader, because when this came up a couple of months ago and the hiring manager swore up and down that they’d get back to me in two weeks regardless of the decision, their HR is really good about that, the vehemence of the promise made me more skeptical, not less. Sure enough, I only know I didn’t get the job because four weeks after the interview I logged into the application system and saw that they’d updated my status to Not Selected.

    1. Angry socialist*

      Places that swear they won’t ghost me ghost me just as much as every other place.

  20. Who Are You*

    I interviewed with one of the top companies in the country for a Marketing position. It went well and the hiring manager was hinting that I would get the job. Two weeks passed, I haven’t heard anything from them despite sending a follow up email. I had four other interviews in other companies and decided to accept a job offer from one. The position was urgently needed and I had to report to work the following Monday. It was a fairly small company but the pay is almost the same as the multi-national one, the perks are okay and the job is great. Needless to say, I liked it there.

    Wednesday of my first week, the multi-national company called and informed me that they have scheduled me for a meeting to discuss the contract on Friday. I politely informed them that I already have a job and would like to decline the offer. They were very confused and were repeatedly mentioning that only two weeks passed. Turns out, they knew I pass the interview, processed it within a few days but waited more than two weeks before informing me. She tried to make me “change my mind” by saying that I should just hear what the company offers but by then I’m not going from a company who were very honest and upfront with me from the start to a company who made applicants wait for two weeks just for the hell of it.

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Not just that – some companies are so smug about themselves, they do not realize that GOOD candidates tend to have several “irons in the fire.” If a company drags its feet, its candidate pool decreases.

      If you’re a hiring manager and you drag your feet for weeks, thinking, “oh he’ll be there”…. think again.

  21. Suzanne in UK*

    I have been a hiring manager a few times in my current job. We use an online system, and it works pretty well for me. Once we shortlist, those who are not selected to be invited for an interview receive an email that we’re not going forward with them, so they don’t have to wonder for the entire hiring cycle.

    As far as interviewees go, I don’t get back to them until the first choice person has accepted their offer officially in writing, and I wonder if that is what happens in a lot of the longer delays where people aren’t fully ghosted. I aim for an offer to be made no more than a day or two after the interviews, but always tell those being interviewed we’ll make a decision by the end of the next week so that they aren’t expecting a response right away. The longest I’ve gone from interview to contact saying they weren’t successful is four business days, but that’s because the person who we offered accepted right away. if they need time to think / negotiate, it’ll extend that time a bit.

    I can see why some people will want to know right away if they aren’t getting the initial offer, but usually the people we interview could all do the job well, so if the first choice doesn’t work out, there’s another person we can offer it to without starting the work relationship off from ‘you weren’t my first choice.’

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      What you’re doing is a good thing – both for the applicants/candidates, even those that you’re not going to go with.

      It also reflects well on your company. You don’t give the impression that your comany is in disarray, or that your management is indecisive.

      People , as far as I can tell, don’t get as upset over a rejection that is handled professionally, versus what I call a clown show.

  22. Rainy Cumbria*

    I once received an automated rejection email three months after an interview. I was so tempted to wait three months, then reply to ask for feedback.

  23. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    I advise everyone who is job-seeking – whether employed, unemployed, no matter how desperate or not you are – view =

    “The Company Men”.

    During a brief period of unemployment some decades ago, nearly everything in that movie that happened toi Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck’s character) happened to me. Plus a couple of jackasses who dragged me into interviews for their own amusement.

    After that, your expectations on getting straight answers and respectful treatment during the interview cycle will change – and become more realistic.

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