You did everything right for your job interview: You asked thoughtful questions, presented your skills well, and even sent a thank you note to interviewers.
But two weeks after the interview, you haven’t received any response from the company you applied to.
This situation can be stressful because there are plenty of reasons (reasonable and otherwise) why you may not have received a job offer yet. Additionally, it’s tricky to walk the line between politely following up and seeming like a pest.
Use our quick guide to help you understand why this happens and what you should do.
How Many Weeks After an Interview Should You Hear Back?
Ideally, you’ll hear back from a hiring manager or other interviewers within two weeks of your final job interview. That’s not a hard and fast rule, especially if a recruiter or manager has told you to expect a different time frame.
But generally, you shouldn’t be left in suspense for longer than a couple of weeks. If you find yourself stuck in hiring purgatory, there are some steps you can take to find out what’s going on.
Potential Reasons You Haven’t Heard Back
Waiting to hear back after an interview can certainly make you anxious. And as time passes, that worry or stress only continues to grow. So what is taking so long!? Here are some common reasons why it’s been two weeks after an interview with no response.
The hiring manager hasn’t finished the interview process.
Delays happen; maybe another candidate had to reschedule their interview, or perhaps the company struggled to find available interviewers on needed days. You may need to be patient for a while longer.
Someone else was chosen without you being notified.
This one seems unprofessional on the company’s part and feels terrible for the job candidates who weren’t selected, but it’s still a common practice. The Undercover Recruiter points out that if you’ve spoken on the phone before, you should really get a phone call letting you know you weren’t hired.
However, being ghosted by a potential employer can also offer important benefits — like showing you that the company probably isn’t the best one to work for anyway. Regardless if someone else was chosen an email or phone call is a common courtesy.
The hiring decision-maker is out of the office.
Sometimes everyone is just waiting on that one key stakeholder — who happens to be in Hawaii and off email. There’s not much you can do in this scenario but continue waiting.
The company decides to shift job priorities.
Maybe you interviewed for a sales position, but leadership has since decided that sales will comprise a smaller part of the job than previously planned.
It’s sometimes easy to blame yourself for not getting a job, but internal goals shift more than you might realize, and you may simply have a mismatched skill set for a reworked role.
They are slow in the hiring and interview process.
This is another one that could leave you grateful to end up working elsewhere. Companies that chronically drag their feet in hiring may be full of red tape in other areas too — like raises and promotions.
This is not always the case, so don’t assume right away! Sometimes companies just have longer hiring processes than average, so it’s good to reach out just to follow up if it’s been two weeks.
Strong competition means decision-making is tough.
Even if you blew your interview out of the water, that doesn’t mean three other people weren’t equally impressive.
Plus, as FlexJobs points out, there’s often more than one person to impress during job interviews, and hiring managers may differ in their opinions on who the best candidate really is.
They’re waiting on approvals from leadership.
Many organizations require the go-ahead from more than just a hiring manager or immediate supervisor. If multiple layers of approvals are required from high-up executives, the waiting game may last longer than you’d like.
What Should You Do If It’s Been Two Weeks?
There are a few reasons why it’s been two weeks after an interview and no response. This can make it difficult to know where you stand in the hiring process. But there are a few things you can do during this time.
1. Send an email.
You’ll usually want to write to the hiring manager, but you may want to message a potential supervisor as well (if they interviewed you). Gently remind the recipient who you are, and mention that you’re following up on an interview that took place two (or more) weeks ago.
Don’t puff up the email with extra fluff; you want to be short and to the point. Do include a subject grab that will grab attention, and remember to be polite. (You’ll also want to thank the recipient for their time again.)
Here’s a sample email:
Hi [Hiring Manager], Thanks again for interviewing me on [date]! I really enjoyed hearing about [Company Name] and my potential role there. I'm very excited about the possibility of working with your team and think my skills and interests align well. Since a few weeks have passed, I’m following up to see if there are any updates on the hiring process. Thank you, [Your Name]
2. Keep searching and interviewing.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Just like the company you interviewed with may be juggling other job candidates, you should continue your job search until you receive a formal offer.
This is especially important pending how the job markets are doing. You might find that companies are getting hundreds to thousands of applications for specific jobs. That will be a time to continue applying aggressively.
3. Reach out to someone else from the interview.
Your primary hiring contact may not be as responsive as you’d hope, so it doesn’t hurt to reach out elsewhere.
That doesn’t mean spamming every company email address you can find or direct messaging everyone on LinkedIn. Doing too much can also get you fast-tracked to not being employed at the company.
Instead, think strategically about who you’ve connected with already and who might be able to share information.
4. Keep working on your skills.
On your way to a new certification? Participating in a training program at your current job? Maybe you are volunteering somewhere? Keep going — new skills will bolster your resume for any future job, whether or not it turns out to be at the company you’re currently waiting on.
5. Review and update your resume.
Speaking of that resume, this is a great time to polish it. Add new skills, update job responsibilities, and ensure that every name and location is spelled correctly. (You may want to enlist a friend’s help to review the resume too.)
I’d also recommend tailoring your resume slightly to each new job application. Use the keywords they are in the listing and add relevant skills or experiences that match their “must-haves.”
6. Clean up your LinkedIn profile.
This goes hand-in-hand with reviewing your paper resume: Make sure your recent jobs, skills, and other achievements are up-to-date and don’t be afraid to ask contacts to endorse you for skills or write recommendations on your profile.
You may also want to think about adding experience you may not be able to fit on a resume (like volunteer work).
Want to go the extra mile? You can make your LinkedIn more user-friendly. The Muse offers a guide for customizing your profile, making it easier for companies to find and return to your profile.
7. Stay busy and focus elsewhere.
You can only control so much, so don’t drive yourself crazy about a job. Keep applying elsewhere, thinking about what you want in your next role, and enjoying your life.
If you have a side project or hobby, dedicate some time to that to keep your mind active and focused on other things you enjoy.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Okay, now that you know what you should do, there are a few things you aren’t to avoid as well. The last thing you want to do is get yourself removed from the process by being too aggressive.
Don’t send constant emails.
A follow-up after two weeks is sensible, but you risk annoying people (not to mention seeming a little unhinged) if you start messaging daily or a few times a week. You deserve answers, but people deserve some space too.
Once you’ve followed up after two weeks, you can probably message again if you’re still getting radio silence. After that, though, it’s time to just move on.
Don’t contact recruiters or harass other employees.
Think you’re being clever by researching recruiters or other employees on LinkedIn? Reality check: You’re just being annoying (and maybe a little creepy). Stick with the company contacts you already have or those you have already talked to.
I made this mistake in the early days of my career looking for work. I’d message employees in my field, even though I never talked with them or interacted before. As you can probably imagine, it got me nowhere.
Don’t be rude or condescending (even if you’re frustrated).
Searching for jobs can be a demoralizing, downright unfair process. I admit for many companies, the hiring process is completely broken. But that still doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to turn nasty.
Keep your cool, give people some grace, and remember that a company that ghosts you post-interview may not be one you’d want to work for anyway. In fact, look at that as a sign you saved yourself from a bad company.