After the Interview, What Is Taking Them SO Long?

WorkCoachCafeThis blog has over 10,000 comments, mostly from job seekers wondering why they haven’t heard anything from an employer they interviewed with, and wondering what they should do next, while they wait for that job offer that may be coming very soon.

The recruiter/HR person/hiring manager said they’d make a decision before the end of last week.  Or by the middle of last week.  Or before the end of last month.  Or…

And, the deadline is long past – maybe days, maybe months.  But, you haven’t heard from them.  Yet.  And, you may not hear from them.  Or you may hear from them today.  

Don’t assume that no news is bad news for your job search!

Job seekers always seem to assume that the process works perfectly and smoothly on the employer’s side.  But, speaking as someone who has been on the “other side” of the process, that assumption is often totally wrong.  The reason you haven’t heard from them could have nothing to do with you, or it could have everything to do with you.  

You may never know which is happening, but don’t discard an opportunity too soon.  It almost always takes employers more time to fill a job than they believe it will take.  Particularly if it has only been few days or a week past the date the employer said they’d get back to you, don’t give up on the job.

Don’t wait for an offer, or count on it coming through for you, but don’t give up on it either.

10 Things that Could Be Happening While You Wait

SO many things can disrupt the plan for hiring, particularly in large organizations.

At the start of the process -

1.  Someone necessary to the process is MIA.

Hiring someone usually involves more than one person, and someone necessary to the process might be missing – out of the office (vacation, illness, death in the family, business travel) or on high-priority assignment. Until they are available, the process goes on hold.

2.  The other interviews are taking more time than expected.

If you were the first candidate interviewed, it may be a long wait for you, as they talk with the other candidates.  

3.  They are getting ready for the next round.

Then, they may be scheduling a second (or third or fourth) round of interviews for the people who did well on the early round(s), after they determine who made it to the next round (which also takes time to figure out).

After a round (or two) of interviews - 

If you’ve been through multiple rounds of interviews, and are still waiting to hear, other things can get in the way:

4.  They are working their process, tying up all the loose ends, checking off all the to-do’s.

They are checking references and running background checks on all the finalists, and waiting for results before they make their decision.

5.  Someone is MIA, again.

Again, someone critical to the process may be unavailable, and nothing goes forward until they rejoin the process.

6.  They may be restructuring the job.

Someone(s) is holding out for the “perfect candidate” (who didn’t apply), so they may be discussing re-posting the job or re-structuring it to fit the best candidate they have.

When it is finally time to make an offer -

If they told you the interview process is complete, all drug tests, background checks, and everything else is done, and a decision will be made by last week (or even last month), it may still take longer because:

7.  More MIA decision-makers, higher up the chain.

Yet again, someone important in the decision-making may be out of the office or unavailable for some reason.  The right people need to approve new hires, often in very specific order up the organization’s management chain, and decisions wait until the appropriate approval is received so the paperwork can passed on up to the next level.

 8.  Business has changed unexpectedly, and they are waiting for the dust to settle or adjusting to a new reality.

So budgets are being juggled because of an unexpected increase (or drop) in business, and they won’t contact anyone until they know they can afford to fill the job.

9.  Definitely restructuring that job.  Probably…  Maybe…  Or, maybe NOT!

Again, they haven’t found the perfect candidate, so they are reconsidering the structure of the job.  When they are done, it may be a perfect fit for you, or not.  They won’t know until they’re done making the changes, and, of course, you won’t know until after they do.

Maybe they will decide, in the end, that it’s too time-consuming and expensive to re-post and go through the whole interviewing process again, so they’ll go with the best candidate they’ve got.  Which could be you, IF you are still available (don’t wait, though!).

10.  Waiting for a decision from candidate # 1.  You are candidate # 2.

They could have offered the job to someone else and are waiting for that person to accept (or not).  Or are in the process of negotiating the job offer with the person.  It ain’t over until the person starts the job (sometimes not then, either).  If that person doesn’t accept the job – or doesn’t stay very long – you might be next in line!

Or, you may be completely out of the running, and they don’t contact you because they don’t have the time, technology, or manners necessary.  Or they are afraid of hurting your feelings or getting sued.

Try not to assume the worst until you know for sure, or until several months have passed with no word and no responses to your efforts to get an answer from them.

If it doesn’t work out this time…

Perhaps you felt a “connection” with one or more of the people there and would be interested in that employer if another opportunity developed, ask those folks to connect on LinkedIn (what do you have to lose?), and stay in touch.  Perhaps, send them a thank note for the opportunity to meet them and to learn more about the organization.  It can work!

If you worked with a recruiter, send the recruiter an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.  Most recruiters welcome all connections, and connecting with them makes you more visible to them and to the recruiters and employers they are connected to as well.

More About Waiting to Hear After an Interview

How Often Should I Call an Employer After My Interview?

After an Interview: Can Weekly Follow-up Calls and Emails Help Get You the Job?

How to Tell If a Job Interview Went Well

I Got the Post-Interview Temporary OCD Blues

They Reposted the Job. Should I Kiss It Good-Bye?

Working with External (Agency) Recruiters

Rejection Follow-Up (

Turning Rejection into Opportunity (

© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.


About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been  observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then.  Susan also edits and publishes  Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .



  1. I’m definitely sitting in the situation described. I applied almost three months ago for a position. I have a phone interview then an In person interview about a month later. The interview went well and I was told there would be a follow up call the following day. I never heard back. I sent an email, as she told me if I had any follow up questions not to hesitate, I got a reply about a week later. She stated things had been very busy as the company had just been purchased and corporate was all over them. She told me she would call the following week and again nothing. Over all it’s going on about 3 months but I am still optimistic. Any thoughts? Perhaps I should move on, I am still applying at other places, but this job really seemed to fit.

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Michael,

      When an organization has been purchased, for a while, everything will probably come to a halt. The job may or may not still be open when they are done with the decisions they need to make about what the role of the (former) company will be in the new organization. It should have been thought through before the purchase, but often the details – like which jobs will be open and which ones will disappear – are not determined in advance.

      Definitely keep looking. ALWAYS keep looking! Until you are holding a written job offer in your hand for the right job at the right salary, don’t even pause in your job search. No matter how encouraging an employer is, don’t stop your job search to wait for any of them to give you an offer because the offer you’re waiting for might not happen and then you will have lost time and opportunities.

      So, stay in touch with them, but keep looking.

      Good luck with your job search!

  2. I interviewed for a position back in May. The interview seemed very promising but I heard on the news that the corporation was going through job cuts(not in the area that I interviewed for). Anyways I sent a thank you email the day of the interview, two weeks later I followed up and have steadily followed up by email every three weeks. Is that too much? It is just a quick email that says I am still interested, I see the job is still open, do you have an updated timeline, and thank you for your time. When I log on to the company website to see where I have applied the job is still open but is not listed for people to apply to it so I am thinking I still have a chance. Maybe there was a hold up because of the lay-offs that occurred over the summer.

  3. I applied for a job in may after one week i got the call and then after 2 weeks i got a call to do an assessment online. they told me i will know the results after one week … it took 3 weeks … and then they told me there is another assessment i hate to take and the same thing i was done with a great results but it took more than a month which is really odd because they told me in 2 days we will let you know …. and then i find out they want me to do another assessment and the same story i did really good until finally i got the call for the interview … i nailed it and i thought i will get the offer but after one week they told me you need to meet someone else … sure why not … and then everything went pretty well again and i was waiting forever to get a response and when i get the call i find out they want me to meet up with another different person … ohh well i went there for the third time and everything was really good … by the end of the interview i asked just one single question .. when i will be able to find out what is the final decision … the HR told me that it will be by the end of the week … so i called and left a voice mail twice and sent an email and no one answered me …. 3 months for a hiring process and i did what i need to do … after all that im worry and waiting and don’t know what else will happen plus i will be so disappointed if i didn’t get the job … please advice me what i should do … it’s hard after all that they ignoring your messages and they don’t give you any hope

  4. A word of advice (also looking) says:

    To Amen and the other candidates,

    I know it’s hard to be patient and wait and I myself am going through the same situation as many of you. I am about to tell you what to do and it is something you already know to do but most likely do not want to hear nor do you want to believe and feel there is this magical way of getting you the job. And that is to move on, keep the company in your thoughts just in case and to keep hope but to keep looking for other opportunities. There really is not much else you can do beyond that and let me tell you why and what I have learned through many google searches and many times applying. If you decide to follow up, only do it with a thank email or note and that is it. The more you invest, the more you’ll get your feelings hurt and furthermore, the more you invest the more you become a pest. The company has not forgotten you and the company knows you are interested. Do not insult them through mini emails and phones calls stating this because although they might lack professional manners, they still have the common sense to know you are interested in work and therefore your emails and phone calls will not make any difference but shows your desperation and probably shows that you don’t know how to be patient in letting the people on the other end do their part. Imagine your kid or loved one rushing you to make dinner when they know dinner is cooking, and they know you are doing your best to make it and make it right, but them rushing you only causes agitation and further, does not move the process along any faster; just some added nonsense you have to deal with and is unnecessary. If anything, let others who are applying for the same position do all that nonsense and allow yourself to stand out by being patient and hiring managers will surely appreciate this and in return this might work better in your favor and most likely, but rarely, change their mind about you and give you a second look. When you think about it, even if you did follow up 3 times, or even just that one time, it won’t make a difference if they have already made their decision as to whom they want back for a second interview or whom they want to hire. Put yourself in their position, if you had an ideal candidate in mind and others sent in emails and phones calls seeing where they stand in the interviewing process or even to display their interest, will that make any difference in the decision you make on the person you plan to hire? I promise you the answer is NO. HR knows already whom they want to come back and regardless how long they took to make that decision, they still stick to the plan regardless of what you or other candidates do; they put you out of sight and out of mind especially if they have decided they didn’t want you in the first place. So really save your energy and put it toward other prospects that fit and wait it out.

    I agree not getting a call either way hurts, it sucks and shows lack in manners, but don’t let that bullshit rub off on you where you become that desperate date that keeps saying “please baby baby please take me back” lol not a good look and that will probably hurt your chances rather than help them. And imagine if they were considering you and then you screw up by constantly checking your status, you sabotaged yourself and have nobody else to blame. BE PATIENT for your own sanity. Before you know it, you’ll have them all calling you at the same time to make an offer then you’ll have the problem of, “who do I want to work with, and how will I let them down gentle from my wonderful talents”. Good luck y’all, pray for me and I’ll pray for you.

    Patients is the key I have learned in this process. Only follow up when asked and ONLY when necessary. I promise you that it is the best way and helps you to move on faster.

  5. A word of advice (also looking) says:

    I also wanted to add that sometimes you can do everything right, and still things manage to go wrong. Just move on and try not to dwell. I say this for myself as well…it’s what you gotta do.

  6. I’ve undergo on a final interview last October 17, the interview goes well, after the interview the department head ask me if I still have questions, and I ask him on what I am expecting after the interview and then he said that my experiences is okay, and he will talk to the HR as well as the project manager regarding on that matter, he also said that there are 2 other applicants that has undergone in an interview. It’s been almost 3 weeks and I haven’t heard anything from them. The last time I checked was their job is still posted on the net. Do I still have a chance of getting this job? thanks!

  7. A word of advice (also looking) says:


    Although I am not a hiring manager nor am I the Cafe Coach, I suggest you follow what I have said in my very long post above. You might still have a chance but there is no way of knowing for sure if you are in or if you are out. Only God, and the people making the decision know this answer. All you can do is wait patiently and as Susan says, there might be other things and processes holding up their communication with you. Think about what you said, there were three other candidates along with you who have interviewed. That means even though a small number of candidates (and possibly more), you might have some tough competition for this position and just like a card game, the odds are stacked against you. Now this doesn’t mean you are necessarily out, but at the same time don’t get your hopes up and keep in mind that if you did well, that’s all you can do and make sure you keep this experience in mind for when you might get that phone call from them, or for your next prospective employers. The experience and learning process is the key in all this and plays a major part in being patient when looking for employment. I mean when you think about it, there is not much else you can do and really no way to tell how things might end up. All you can do is take what you have learn and apply it for next time, this is why you have to keep your hopes up and remember. Treat is as a puzzle game and think about that you are finally realizing what you want and need besides a job and money. I for one am in dire need of financial gain and very soon, but the more I learn the better I boost my chances of actually nailing a job and bettering my intellect through the whole process. This is how I have to see it because being sad and other shit doesn’t work so might as well try try try until I’m dead and let God do the rest.

    I have heard of people getting calls back after waiting a month or two while already have accepted another position, I have also heard of people not getting calls back at all (which would be plenty of my cases), but either way does it matter to ask what the outcome is? No because you will know when you will know. But I do understand for piece of mind and for hope’s sake that you want to hear some encouraging and positive words that there might be a chance, and want somebody to tell you from experience that they got a call back after 4 months! lol But for now that’s all you’re going to know at this time until you actually get a call, or wait until it’s obviously way past a time for communicating that you might have a job (which would be like 6 months) lol this obviously means you should have moved on and possibly picked up new prospects. Good luck jelly and keep searching like the rest of us. God is helping get what you need.

    • Thank you for your great response, it really helps a lot, I also want to ask, is it advisable to contact the company you applied for, just to follow up your application? thanks in advance! :)

  8. A word of advice (also looking) says:


    So God blessed me with a second interview with the company I mentioned before through referral. After the first interview, I was actually surprised to receive a response from one of two interviewers to my thank you emails a few days later; this happened a week before I got called by the recruiter for a second interview. I took it as courtesy and nothing more. Then last week Thursday I was called by the recruiter letting me know that they wanted me to come in for a second interview and that it would be a panel interview with a few more team members, and it happened this past Monday; one interviewer (the director) was unable to make it due to being on vacation in Hong Kong. Had the second interview and I felt it went well. I wasn’t given a tour of the company because I was already given a tour after the first interview. I took notes during my second interview even though I really didn’t need to; I didn’t bother asking if I could but monitored my engagement to it. I just jotted down key words to refer back to in my thank you emails to each of the interviewers. The interviewers didn’t take any notes this time, but the third interviewer had a note pad out; the interview lasted 45 mins while the first interview lasted an hour and fifteen mins. Got the third interviewer’s contact info, and this was a first that I have received a phone number included in the contact info from an interviewer that wasn’t on a business card. Wrote the thank you emails to all three interviewers and sent them the day before Thanksgiving; a little past noon to be exact. I was again surprised to have received a response back to my thank you email from the second interviewer who hadn’t responded before, a few hours later that same day. During the interview when I asked when I should be expecting a hiring decision, they told me that they had planned to wrap up the interviews before the Thanksgiving holiday and that they were supposed to be interviewing one other person, but they couldn’t get a hold of them and was trying to reach them; I don’t know how true this is but I just took it at face value. My friend told me that she didn’t hear them interviewing anybody else because she is in an area where she can hear what goes on. Finally they said I should be hearing something by next week, first week of December if things go according to plan.

    So yes, this is what happened and I feel I have a good chance, but only time will tell. This also shows that even though I was referred, the process was still not a complete “in the bag” piece of cake process like some would believe. I just happened to be good enough to get called back from having a fit resume, patience and good rapport from the first encounter. Right now I will be waiting and hopefully will be giving you an update on some awesome news! Keep strong everyone out there looking, and pray. It gets hard and sometimes all you need is the inspiration of others’ stories to keep hope. Please post here when you have good news to tell.

  9. I WON THE LOTTO! Ok, it sure feels like it. Here is my story: I must of had lady luck on my side. I first saw the job posting @ 10pm at night. It had posted an hour prior on I applied right away because I knew that was the type of job I needed to get my foot in the door to change into an industry I highly desired. I think that helped a lot being one of the first applications because I got an email the next day asking if I could be available for a phone interview tomorrow (THE NEXT DAY). The phone interview went well as I had prepared in advance to have a quiet place, all my ‘cheat’ sheets in front of me. I listened well. She asked me to COME IN in 2 days. Mind you, she told me they are interviewing a lot of people. Ugh. I met with the 2 Sales Executives who I would be working with. No HR. I had a really good interview with them and even connected with the older man because he transferred from the city that my sister currently lives in. We talked about how his accomplishments there as I asked and even other events going on there. I left feeling good and wanted that job even more. Again, they told me they are still interviewing people and will let me know after the man’s 2 week trip! I not only sent a thank you email within 2 hours…but 2 days later, I decided to send a hand-written note to the both of them with samples of my online work that I failed to show them during the interview (yes, I brought them in a folder and lost that opporunity!) I thought, what is going to make me stand out? Despite the fear of appearing desperate, I mailed them a packet. The woman acknowledged it in an email and thanked me. I honestly thought I would not hear from either one of them again. I waited about 2 weeks before I was asked to come in for the final interview. They told me it was down to me and another candidate. They asked me to bring professional references too. Prior to the final interview, I prepared a 30/60/90 day Plan on what I think I would do in that position based on the job duties in the original ad. I got the idea from this career coach,Peggy McKee. Google her. This is not a Sales position but she said the 30/60/90 Day Plan is the tool to close the deal. Here is what happened: that Plan had them going over it with me and I think it made them see me as someone who can be on their team. It did close the deal because I got their call THE NEXT DAY saying that I am hired!! Unbelievable as I have been job hunting on and off for about 2 years! Don’t give up and use a 30/60/90 Day Plan in a first interview..even if it is a phone it to the interviewer ahead of time if you can! He/she will not forget you! Good luck!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Congratulations! Thank you for sharing, Janice. It’s always great to hear about job search success. Hope the job turns out very well for you!

  10. you have a good point there, that’s the thing the holds me back in following up my application, for it could result of annoyance for them, the thing that pushes me to ask that question is that i’ve read some other blogs that says once you’ve followed up in a professional way could let them think that your really interested for that position as well as working with their company, on the other hand if I am really fitted for that position they will contact me whether I followed up them or not.. :)

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