Ask Brian – How Long Should I Wait To Hear Back? – Some Rules
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Reader Iris writes in:
I went for an interview about a month ago and got invited for a second interview which I had two weeks ago. They initially said that a decision would be made in a weeks time, so after a week I called to follow up and they said they were very happy I called and appreciated that. However no decision had been made yet, but they would definitely let me know as soon as they make a decision.
Now it has been a week and a half since the follow up and I have not heard anything! Should I call/e-mail them and follow up again, or should I just presume that they have found someone else. Please help as I can not stop checking my phone and every time it is a disappointment!
Brian answers after the break…
First, let’s answer Iris’ specific question.
Since you’ve already waited a further week and a half, wait a few days more and let a nice round two weeks elapse. Then, call, email, visit in person. Do what you feel like. You certainly deserve to get an answer at this point. You might get some further insights why by reading below.
Now, to delve into this further…
I don’t know why, but this question (and variations on it) represent the number one most common Ask Brian question. I’ve touched on answers before, but this question still comes in on a weekly basis.
I’m not sure if there has been a sudden breakdown in recruitment decorum, or if it has always been thus.
One thing I’m sure of,
however, is that you have a right to know if a decision has been made, and even given an expectation when a decision might be made.
Not a Constitutional right, of course. But you definitely have rights just in the sense of common decency and professional manners.
So, since this is such a popular question, let’s see if we can’t flush out some hard and fast rules to stick by. Thus, here are:
Brian’s Rules For Following Up After A Job Interview
- Don’t be afraid to ask when a decision might be made.
- If they give you a firm date (say, something like, “We’ll be making a decision by the end of the month.”) then don’t inquire before that date. If they’ve given you a date, consider it real and don’t follow up until that date has passed.
- If they don’t give you a firm date, wait at least 1 and 1/2 to 2 weeks before following up and inquiring about a decision.
- If you do follow up, follow up in the least intrusive way first. Get more intrusive if you don’t hear anything. In other words, start by emailing. If you get no response, try calling. If still no response, follow up in person.
- If you have followed up and made contact once and they give you a delay (as they did to Iris… saying they still haven’t made a decision) give it another 1 and 1/2 to 2 weeks to follow up again.
- If you have waited 4-6 weeks, following up regularly, using all the methods described above, and you still can’t get a response… then write that company and that position off. Move on to the next one.
And of course, you might hear back sooner if you’ve hired a quality resume service to help you prepare your resume.