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Job Interview Limbo: Did I Get the Job?

One of the greatest pleasures I get is offering words of comfort to someone who just had a job interview and is waiting to find out whether they got the new job – or even if they’ll get another interview. They feel so helpless and there isn’t much more they can do at that point, especially if they’ve already written polite thank-you notes to the people with whom they met.

It makes me feel helpless too, since I have no magic powers to help them actually get the offer – or even to tell them what’s going to happen next. Many people have written or visited here looking for some words that might help even a little while they are caught in interview limbo. This October 2007 post has gotten almost thousands of views already and I get new questions on it all the time:

How to Tell If a Job Interview Went Well

I like that this gives me a chance to address individual situations more directly, but even more cool to me is that people have started sharing their own experiences and thoughts to help others. I love my readers and all the really useful things they’ve added to the discussion.

If you are someone in interview limbo right now, we feel your pain. I wish you all the best of luck in getting the new job you really want.

In the meantime, maybe these will help a little:

I Got the Post-Interview Temporary OCD Blues

12 Ways to Stay Sane After a Job Interview

Best of luck!

 

About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

Comments

  1. Adriane says:

    Altough there isnt’t a ‘crystal ball’ to tell whether or not I have FINALLY landed a job, this website has truly helped calm my nerves some. It is simply nice to know that there are others that have been through the waiting game or are going through just as I am.
    I have been on unemployment for 14 months now and have had tons of interviews but never ‘get’ the job. I interviewed with an excellant company on 6/9 and again f3eel that this interview went extremely well. It lasted 2 hours and ended with the executive telling me he looked forward to seeing me again not once but twice. I sent the customary thankyou and let them know how enthusiastic I was about this job, called to follow up on 6/20, and still haven’t heard anything! When I called they said they had one more interview to conduct on that Wed., the day of the interview they said it would take 2 weeks to hear something back either way.
    So in a nutshell I am in limbo , this job could change my life, and my unemployment is almosy gone.
    I am debating on whether to follow up again but dont want to bother them on one hand then on the other, I want them to keep me in mind.

    • HI Adriane!

      Sounds like a great interview. And I really do get how tough waiting is, especially after all that time on unemployment.

      As someone who has conducted many interviews, believe me…they don’t forget a good candidate. Since you were told it takes two weeks and two weeks aren’t up yet, I’d wait a little longer. Also, if you are in the US, a holiday is coming up, which can involve people being out of the office and lots of internal flurry to meet other deadlines. So if you haven’t heard by Wednesday of next week (good to give folks a day to recover after getting back) by all means send a polite follow-up e-mail expressing your continued strong interest and asking if there’s any other information you can provide to help them with their decision.

      I wish you MUCH luck! Please let us know what happens.

      • Adriane says:

        HI Ronnie!
        Thankyou so much for your reply! I interviewed on the 9th of June, sent a thankyou email on the 10th, and did a follow up call on the 20th. As of tommorow, it has been 3 weeks.
        When I called, he sounded genuinely pleased to hear from me, but told of that they still had one more interview to conduct that Wednesday the 29th. I admit that kind of threw me, so I am not sure if he said they would have a decision this week or next.
        Should I still wait to send the email you suggested? I truly hadnt thought of the 4th of July holiday possibly pushing their decision back some, but that makes sense.
        I will definately keep you posted on what happens, I need all of the advice I can get. My resume, cover letter, and application has landed me several interviews…however, I just don’t get any further than that. The job market is tuff these days, there are more people looking for work than jobs!

        • Hi again Adriane! I really don’t know for sure what to tell you. At this point, it probably can’t hurt. They know who their top candidates are and if you’re one of them, a short polite note is a little extra. If you’re not one of them…well, they may remember you at least and be open to contact for another opening in the future. ;-)

          Fingers crossed for you! Good luck.

  2. Adriane says:

    Thankyou for responding Ronnie Ann! I called and spoke the HR guy that I interviewed with yesterday. He sounded genuinley pleased to speak with me, I asked him if there had been a determination on the position and said that they had several meeting last week and he wasn’t sure at that time of the outcome of the meetings.
    I took a chance and politely asked him if I were still the ‘running’ for the position and laughed and said I most certainly was and apologized for not getting back to me last week but didnt want to call when he still wasn’t sure of their decision. He said he will let me know by the end of this week! I am very encouraged by his phone call, please pray for me and keep your fingers and toes (ha ha) crossed for me! I will let you know what they say either way. Thankyou again for ‘talking’ me through this, this is SO nerve wracking to say the least!

  3. Nice handling of the situation, Adriane! I’m really hoping you get a big “yes”.

    Fingers, legs, toes and eyes crossed for you! ;-)

  4. Update: I found out Friday that I was not selected for the position. I am keep my chin up and trying to stay positive. There has to be a job out there somewhere for me. Thankyou again for your encouragement Ronnie Ann!

  5. Oh! So sorry Adriane. I was really hoping this was going to be good news for you.

    Love your attitude. Yes…your job is out there somewhere…or will soon be created!

    In the meantime, don’t forget to send a nice handwritten note to the HR person telling him how much you enjoyed the opportunity to interview with his company and asking that he keep you in mind for any future openings.

    Best of luck!

  6. i am sorry adriane, you are brave… i am still in the job hunt and I give up so easily… i have to be strong like you…

  7. I wish you all the best, dinosaur. Your job is out there too. Your biggest challenge now is to help it find you. Remember to network as much as possible and match your resume to the job each time.

    I’ve had talented people write to me saying they got a job after looking steadily for a year or more. Sadly it’s a tough time for too many people. The ones who get the jobs are the ones who keep going. Please don’t give up!

  8. Dinosaur,
    I whole heartedly agree with Ronnie Ann…..please don’t give up looking, there are many people in the same position we both find ourselves in.
    Keep your head up just as I am, you know you are capable! Just today I interviewed for a state position and have yet another interview for a local hospital next Tuesday. I may not get either one but I HAVE to keep trying and so do.
    Good Luck Dinosaur!

  9. Ronnie Ann,
    Job search update: I was finally offered a position!! Last week I interviewed on Tuesday and they called and offered me the position on Friday :) This position has some negatives though but I am willing to let that go to simply get off of unemployment. It is a 6 month, temporary job without benefits, but has the potential to lead into a perm position. Also, I will have to work every other weekend which isnt horrible but with three teenagers it will be a slight challenge (sometimes they are harder than 2yr olds…lol).
    All of that aside, I went ahead and interviewed for the position I am highly trained in on Monday of this week. I would feel bad if I was offered this one but everything about it is what I need. It isn’t temporary, it has benefits, Monday to Friday work week, days only, and closer to where I live.
    Either way the good news is I am FINALLY returning to work after 17 months. So for everyone out there that is interviewing and trying hard, please keep going, it truly will work out! Your persistance will most certainly pay off in the end.
    I will let you know which position I begin within the next few weeks. Fingers crossed as usual…lol

    Take Care, Adriane

  10. Fingers, legs, and eyes crossed. Always nice to be interviewing from a position of relative strength. Hope you wind up in the job you really want, but either way…congratulations..Thanks so much for letting us know. And for offering hope to others.

    Looking forward to hearing the end of the story…and of course the beginning of a brand new story. Best of luck, Adriane!

    • Yet another ‘twist’ to the journey become employed again…..the very same place that offered me a position, called to see if I would interview this Wednesday for a supervisor’s position. Not only was this the same place, but even the same lady from HR that offered me the position I accepted. They pushed back my start date to let me interview and see if I am chosen.
      I am going to go in there and do my best, it would pay $6 more an hour which make life so much easier!
      Either way Monday of next week I will know what my direction will be, so not long now.

  11. This is the kind of twist I wish everyone, Adriane. Congratulations. At the very least, you’ll have a job you want, but maybe you’ll also have an opportunity to prove yourself in a different role – plus $6/hour more. ;-)

    I wish you MUCH luck!

  12. hi all,

    very nervous i went for a job interview yesterday, i wrote palm cards and read on the train on the way to my interview i remembered everything. he seemed generally interested in me the interview took over an hour its a job advertised with a recruitment agency he said i was well prepared and well presented and said im the best so far he has interviewed and inducted me and gave me my timesheets. he mentioned that he would call me in the next day or so maybe earlier he sent my details through to the employer straight away as i was doing my induction and gave me a strong handshake on the way out i just want to know now its so nerve wrecking what does everyone think did i get the job?

    kate

    • Hi Kate,

      The waiting can be the hardest part, right?

      First, try to feel good about how well you did in the interview. Sounds like you were very well prepared and came across beautifully. If this job doesn’t come through, you should feel good about the fact that you know how to master an interview.

      I wish I could say that it’s a done deal, and you can stop worrying. As Ronnie Ann said in the post, no one has “magic powers” to tell you that you actually got the job. You can’t be sure until you either have something in writing or you’re on the job.

      Meantime, continue with your job search plan, uncovering other possible opportunities that may lead you to something even better. Keeping busy this way may also help keep you from fixating on and worrying about that job.

      But we’ll keep our fingers crossed for you that you land this one! Please keep us updated.

      Meg Guiseppi
      Member of the Work Coach Cafe Team

  13. Great article– even though all we can do is wait!

    I just had my third interview for this position, and at the end, the interviewer told me she was very impressed. She said she usually doesn’t say anything so that interviewees don’t get their hopes up, but that it had gone very well. I have to wait a couple days for the phone call either yes or no, but does that sound like a good sign?

    Adriane’s story made me worry, because it sounded like the company was giving positive signs the whole time, too!

  14. I am out of work now three months. I had a third interview with one company and all three seemed to go very well. Especially after reading your post on how to know if the interview went well. So now I am waiting. My third interview with this company was 45 days ago. I was told I was one of the top two candidates. When I called to check the status of the position (30 days ago), I was told there were more applicants they were talking to and the position had not been filled. First I am told I am the in the top two, then I am told there are more applicants. While I am still looking and have had more interviews at other companies, I keep thinking of this one company. I did the thank you notes for all interviewers in all rounds and I placed a follow up phone call two weeks after the third interview. Still no response from any of it. I know you do not know what they are thinking, but how can I get an answer once and for all from them? Am I their guy or not?

    Thank you,

    EJ

    • EJ,

      Based on the fact that they haven’t reached out to you and let you know that they decided to look at other candidates as well…I’d say it’s a safe bet that you should be applying to additional opportunities as well — and not count on this one to pan out.

      While I am not internal to the process, it’s quite possible that they decided to revise the job description for the job. Often, when they do this — they choose to see other candidates before making a final decision.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  15. Hi Ronnie Ann,
    Thank you so much for this blog. I have recently interviewed for two positions, both are great jobs, but I would prefer company A over company B for a multitude of reasons. I interviewed for company A 1 month ago, and one week ago they finally asked for my references. They have only called one reference this week and not the others. I interviewed with company B today, and they informed me that they would be checking my references tomorrow, and would have a hiring decision by Monday. I am hoping that I will get job offers from both, however I am concerned that I will get a job offer from company B sooner since they have already given me a hiring deadline. Would it be appropriate to follow up with company A now and check in on the reference check process? It has been a week since I last spoke with them, I am worried that their hiring decision could take weeks longer since the position is working for a large university with a lot of bureaucracy.

    Thanks again for your help!

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