12 Ways to Stay Sane After a Job Interview

Some of you may recognize this from a previous longer post. Since I get so many e-mails and comments from people suffering through the agony of waiting waiting and then waiting some more after their job interviews, I thought it was worth posting again on its own.

Hope it helps!

Things to Do While Waiting to Hear Back After a Job Interview

  1. Keep looking for jobs! No matter how great this one job is, it helps to keep the energy aimed at finding work you really want. Sometimes an even better job comes along during this time.
  2. At the most basic level, try daily breathing exercises. A good one suggested by Dr. Andrew Weil is to breathe in to a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and breathe out for a count of 8. I do it and it helps.
  3. Take up a new hobby – something you’ve always wanted to try.  Yoga. Meditation. Tai chi. Tae kwon do. Knitting. Painting. Photography. Guitar. Acting. Whatever piques your interest or moves your spirit.
  4. Rent LOTS of movies and re-direct your obsessive behavior in that direction. Not sure a therapist would suggest that, but I’m just trying to get you through the interview process. :)  (To keep costs down, you can always join NetFlix for a month or two and then stop.)
  5. Go to the library or local bookstore and find a bunch of books you’ve been meaning to read. Learn something new (that may be relevant to the job you want). This is the time.
  6. Volunteer somewhere. Turn your energy into something that helps others.
  7. Enlist the help of your friends and loved ones and make sure you get them to do things with you that keep your mind occupied.
  8. Also try putting your extra energy into doing extra things for people you care about. Hard to stay too obsessed about the interview when you’re obsessing about…I mean doing something wonderful for a loved one.
  9. Write about your thoughts and feelings. And let your thoughts fly. Maybe you can write a short story about a character going through what you’re going through. Maybe even give the protagonist super-powers to break through barriers and make things happen. ;-) Or you can even turn your story into a great country or blues song! “I’m waiting too long. They done me wrong.”
  10. Exercise. Even if it’s only walking 10-20 minutes a day. Movement is good for helping get you out of the obsessive thoughts. Use the time to think about something you like to do or someone you love or a place you would like to visit. (No…not the office where you interviewed. Sheesh.)
  11. Singing while exercising or even on its own helps you redirect your thoughts. For me…it’s show tunes or good ole rock ‘n roll.
  12. If all else fails, I use bad TV to get lost in. Oh sure…it’s not the optimal prescription for mental health, but we’re just talking about making it through the interview process!

Good luck! Please let us know what happens and how you get through the awful wait. ;-)

Ronnie Ann

Related Work Coach Cafe posts

After the Job Interview: Why Haven’t They Called Me Yet?

Stuck in the Waiting Game After 2nd Interview

I Got the Post Interview Temporary OCD Blues (original article)

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+.


  1. Kristen says:

    Have been dealing with the whole process with the same company for just over a month now. Sent in an application and 2 weeks later had a phone interview with HR, from there I had an in person interview where the hiring manager told me everything went well and I even ended with asking him if he had any concerns in my ability to perform the position and he said he didn’t. From there I waited another week to have a third interview which should have been a panel but they were so busy that they had me just have the third with the hiring manager again one on one.

    Again he told me “this went really well” we talked about when I could start and salary. Then he told me that I would defiantly hear from him next week. Next week came and went… My last interview was on 6/29 and today is 7/10 and I haven’t heard anything. I called last friday to touch base and no call back.

    I have also read that this company sends out rejection emails but I haven’t gotten one of those but it seems like the interview process has not been their basic when it came to mine. Is it time to throw in the towel and move on? Or is there still hope left??

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Kristen,

      Give it another week and keep your search up in the interim. Summer time is hard for employers making hires as so many people are taking vacations…Don’t rule it out yet.

      Good luck and all the best,

  2. Hi Chandlee ( see my comments from 6/25/12),

    After learning that I was declined for the position I wrote the company a letter asking for follow- up, but received no response. I am now wondering if it’s because I mentioned I had a family and they wanted me to travel 10-20% of the time.

    The same company has now posted a similar position that I am qualified for. Should I consider applying if they declined me previously?

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Amanda,

      Sorry to hear you were declined for the position. You could certainly call and express your continued interest in the job. In general, stating your preferences NOT to travel if the job requirements — and family information — isn’t a good strategy if the job requirements are for a person who can travel. 10 to 20% is a minimal amount of travel time compared to some positions. This could be the reason you were turned down.

      If you have re-evaluated this, you should mention this when you follow-up. If it’s not a fit for you, then I would recommend you not re-apply and instead seek out positions that would be a better fit.

      Good luck and all the best,

  3. I am slooowly losing my mind waiting to hear back from a company that I’ve been in the process with for *eight* weeks. I’ve tried many of the things on this list– I’ve applied to more jobs, devoured several books, watched hours of bad reality television, and I even started running a few miles every other day. These things might help for a bit, but the anxiety is always there, in the back of my mind.

    It’s been a multi-step process with this company– phone interview, analytical writing assessment, interview with hiring manager, followed by a visit to the office that took up most of the day where I talked with 6 people, including and 1.5 hour lunch. I think the amount of time and effort I’ve expended throughout this process has made me really vested in the outcome. Not to mention the fact that this would be an amazing role, and that the other jobs I’ve interviewed for during these 8 weeks haven’t panned out. I’m driving myself crazy thinking about the various scenarios and outcomes; in short, I am losing it. It’s a good thing they can’t see me now!

    • chandlee says:

      Hang in there and keep us posted. In the interim, keep up the service. It never hurts to have another option in the hopper when an offer comes along.

      Good luck!


      • An update: I am *still* waiting to hear a definite yes or no from this company. About a week ago I wrote to the recruiter I’ve been in contact with, asking for an update. He wrote back (within the hour) and let me know that the decision was taking longer than expected, but that I should hear back early next week– now here it is, the end of ‘early next week’ and I’ve still heard nothing.

        My personal feeling is that if I was the person they were going to hire, they would have done it already– generally, companies want to secure their first choice candidates as soon as they can. Since it has been over 3 weeks since my final interview, I don’t believe I will receive an offer. However, it has been difficult to completely move on because I haven’t received an official “no”, and the company continues to respond to my emails.

        My question is, is there a good way to word an email to get a straight answer out of them? I was thinking of something along the lines of “have offers gone out for this position already?”. Or maybe I should try to get my recruiter on the phone?

        • chandlee says:

          Oh Alice,

          That’s a tough one. A phone call may be the best way to get a straight answer out of the recruiter…they clearly know you are interested.

          I think the best cure for a non-responsive employer is to keep applying for other opportunities in the interim. Ideally, this will result in more than one opportunity and offer–sometimes the phone rings from one just as you are changing your mind to look at another.

          All the Best,

    • Hi Alice,

      Did you get the job? I am in the same boat right now, and I am still waiting to hear back from an employer that I interviewed with six weeks ago. I was just wondering if you got any response from them. Right now, I have not been able to distract myself from this one position that I really want.

      • Nope, I did not get that job…although the recruiter did let me know and was very nice about it. I did however, get another job (although not right away). I’m actually really happy with the job I have now, and the company is probably a much better fit for me.
        I have been in your shoes *many* times and that agonizing waiting feeling is terrible. I tried everything (exercise, hanging out with friend, mindless TV, etc.). But Chandlee is right, the best thing you can do is to apply for other jobs while you’re waiting. Prepping for other interviews is something that can really distract you, not to mention having more than one iron in the fire makes you less dependent on that one company. Focusing on other opportunities was the only thing that kept me from obsessing over when the company was going to get back to me.

  4. How honest should you be about your current pay? I ask because I have been with the same company for 13 yrs, recently finished my bachelor’s degree and I am still paid 45% less than my counterparts. I am interviewing for a job that is will to pay me 60% more than what I make now.

    I don’t believe companies can legally ask you what you currently make?

    • Amanda,

      If you are asked about your compensation, do not accurately disclose information when asked, and that information is verified as part of the employment process for final background checks — not telling the truth could cost you the job offer.

      I recommend sites such as Glassdoor.com which share salary information by company and job title.

      If asked for expected salary on a job application, you can quote ranges which are reasonable given salary research — or say negotiable. I am not an employment attorney, so I cannot advise you on whether it is legal for employers to ask — but I can tell you that some U.S. based companies provide salary information voluntarily on reference checks.

      Good luck Amanda.


      • Thanks Chandlee. What they are offering me does meet the market expectations for my current job title. I am just currently largely underpaid. So should I say something along those lines?

        • Amanda,

          Don’t interpret any of it. Provide the facts instead. Just say, “I am currently paid __________. According to Salary.com, the median salary for this role is ____________.” This will state your case without sounding needy or greedy…

          Good luck and keep me posted.


      • This is my normal response, I don’t know if this is the best way but it seems to work.

        I researched my personal salary overview with PayScale and Salary.com and found that while I was at 123 Company I was in the median. The salary range for our area and the position of “whatever” runs from $$,000.00 to $$,000.00. Can you give me a range that you are considering for a person with my experience and education?

        • chandlee says:


          I think that’s fine but ideally — you want them to speak of salary first. I don’t recommend asking about salary until you receive a job offer…

          Good luck,

          • Thank you Chandlee, I use this response after they ask what my salary expectations are. Is there a better response to this question?

  5. I had a phone interview and then an in person interview with a potential employer. Both went very well and in the interview we talked about salary, my availability and she said she would contact me next week to start me working with some clients. This was on Wednesday last week so it has now been a week and I was considering writing some sort of e-mail to inquire about the progress. First I am not sure if I should write the e-mail and second I’m not sure how to word the e-mail to not make me seem too pushy. I am very excited about the opportunity and I want to make sure I do this right.

  6. Alexander L says:

    Dear Ronnie
    I just want to say thanks a lot.. I been going crazy on my waiting process but now I have a good understanding on what to do thank you and may God bless you!

    • Hi Alexander,

      Thank you for the blessing – back at you! I will pass your thanks and the blessing on to Ronnie.

      Good luck with your job search!

  7. Hi there,
    Im freaking out! I applied for a job and had to sit a couple of online assessment s. The day after the recruiter called me and organised a face to face interview. I was interviewed for about an hour and felt really relaxed when I left. She called me about 10 minutes after the interview to organise a second interview with the regional manager. The following day I had the interview with the regional manager which I also felt went quite well and it went for about an hour as well. She told me I would hear from them on Monday. It’s now Monday and nothing! Im starting to get nervous as I thought I would of heard from them by now. Am I completely over reacting? There are still 3.5 business hours left today. Im trying to think positive but it’s hard!!!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Jackie,

      You’re not over-reacting. They told you they would be in touch with you today. However, these things SO often take much longer than expected for a big variety of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the job seekers. Schedules get changed because people necessary to the process are unexpectedly called away for a bigger emergency, are out sick, or missing for some other unanticipated reason.

      So, I would not panic, even if you don’t hear from them tomorrow. If you end up not hearing from the on Monday, check in with them politely on Tuesday to see what is going on.

      And, I strongly encourage you to keep job hunting while you wait to hear about this job. Not because I think you aren’t going to get this job but because these things so often take weeks, even months, and you could miss out on a great job while you wait for these folks to make up their minds.

      Good luck with your job search!

  8. I am waiting “not so patiently” on a reply from HR. My question is what should I do now? This is the second time I have interviewed with this company but now for a different position (obviously, I didn’t get the first). I phone interviewed and then flew up and did an in person interview (3 weeks ago today), I was told I would hear something the next week, that came and went so I sent an email and got a response within an hour from HR and said that he would update me at the latest the following Mon or Tues, that would’ve been last week. So, do I contact now or sit idle or what? Pulling my hair out!!!! I am still job hunting and interviewing. Thank you!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Lil,

      Yes, this is so annoying and worrying, but continuing to job hunt and interview for other jobs is EXACTLY the right thing to do!

      It doesn’t sound like the process moves quickly in this organization – as with most organizations. Hiring is a tough thing to do.

      If you contact them next Monday or Tuesday, you’ll have given them 2 weeks past the time they said they would update you, and that should be reasonable. Politely remind them of the job title (and requisition number, if you have it), interview date, and the person who interviewed you. Then, ask for the current status and what the next steps are.

      Good luck with your job search!

  9. Tristan says:

    Thank you for your articles! We are currently living in NY and my husband is getting out of the army and we are moving June 17th. We will be either moving to Arizona or Colorado and our decision is based upon the results of a job interview I had on May 3. They told me I would hear back within two weeks. I did not, so I sent a follow up email last week and she replied they expected to be in contact with us the end of last week. It’s been a week later and I still have not heard from them. We need to have an answer because we need to set up a delivery address with the army for all of our furniture and other out processing paperwork! What do I do? Our whole lives are pending on an answer from the company. I know it’s not the smartest way to live but that’s how it happened.

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Tristan,

      Yikes – tough spot! If you still haven’t heard, I would call them and explain the situation. It can take a long time to make a decision on who to hire, and most of the reasons for that delay have nothing to do with the job seekers or even the one selected to be hired. It’s usually administrative, finance, or logistical things that slow down the process.

      Alternatively, decide which location is best for you long-term, and choose to go there. If that’s where this job is, fine. If not, hopefully something better is waiting for you there.

      Good luck with your job search!

      • Hi,

        I am new in the group, have been looking for a job without any luck, I have been to two sets of interviews and a psychometric test reference checks were done simultaneously with the psychometric test. What does it mean do I stand a chance. I was told that I did well in the panel interview but I am still waiting for a positive response or should I say a job offer. I tried calling them last week and HR could not give me an indication she just said its not yet finalised. It is really frustrating to wait especially if one does not have a job and have bills to pay. I had an interview today with another company and I cancelled guess am also tired since February I have been going for interviews I have being to about 20 interviews with no luck. I must say its hard.

        • Susan P. Joyce says:

          Hi Nhlanhla,

          Yes, it is very frustrating to wait when you don’t know how long or what the outcome will be.

          However, my very strong recommendation is to continue your job search aggressively until you are actually holding a job offer in your hand. Don’t cancel any more interviews, particularly waiting for something that may or MAY NOT happen!

          Until you have accepted a formal job offer, you don’t have a job.

          Do you prepare well for your interviews? Do you research the employer to learn more about them? Read the posts about job interviews to see if there is something you could do to improve your outcomes. An interview is simply an invitation to “audition” for the job. It is also your best opportunity to see if you want to work for that employer.

          Keep trying! You will land a new job!

          Good luck with your job search!

  10. I have just come out of an interview for my dream job a couple of days ago. I think the interview went pretty good, but I keep playing back to the interview on how I could have answered better. Of course this is all speculation and it could have not gone as well as I thought.

    I applied for a public service job and they said to not to contact them. They would let me know either way in 2-3 weeks. I am finding it very hard, and this job is what I have been thinking about consistently and I am very tired…. I feel unproductive and don’t feel like doing anything until I hear back from them. I don’t know if I can wait it out for 2-3 more weeks of this.

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Jeff,

      I know it is hard to wait to hear what happened, but, since they told you not to contact them, don’t.

      Send each of the people who interviewed you a separate (and unique) thank you note for the interview, if you haven’t done that already, and then continue to look for other opportunities.

      Don’t wait for this one to come through for you before looking for another job! It may happen – or it may NOT – and, typically, it can take several weeks, even months, for jobs to be filled.

      Keep hunting for a new job. Worst case is you will have more than one job offer to consider!

      Good luck with your job search!

  11. Hi Susan, thank you for your motivations. I do prepare for this interviews and I must say they go well but job offers are hard to come. An update on that position, they called me again for a meeting tomorrow, they say I will be meeting with 2-3 people. This is not ending, when they called me last week I thought they were giving me an offer instead another interview after two interviews, psychometric test, reference checks that include criminal checks, credit, qualifications and personal meetings with my references. I’ve never had such drama in my life when looking for a job. I now believe when they say God is in control. Wish me good luck for tomorrow hope this time an offer will follow after this meeting. They call it a meeting and not an interview.

Speak Your Mind