After the Interview — What to Do When You Haven’t Heard Back

Bottom line, when you don’t hear back after the interview, it is because the company is not ready to take the next step with you.

The reasons for this are unlimited, so it’s not useful to spend time MSUing (making stuff up) about why. Instead, take these four steps:

Four Actions to Take After the Interview

1. Assess Your Performance

Review your interview performance and take your learnings. If you don’t feel good about the interview, don’t fall into the trap of criticizing the company. It doesn’t help you to focus on negative thoughts.

2. Keep Your Job Search Rolling

Stay focused on your job search. Continue to find and pursue new opportunities.

3. Follow Up Every Two Weeks

Reach out to your contact person(s) at the companies where you’ve interviewed every two weeks. Call more often and they’ll feel stalked. Call less often and they’ll assume you’ve lost interest. Call the hiring manager, if you have met him/her, and the recruiter/HR rep on the search.

Ask for a search status. Graciously restate your interest in the job. Both HR and the hiring manager have tasks to complete in getting to an offer. It’s good for them to visit the status of their search every two weeks. Your calls will make that happen and might get a stalled process moving again.

If you don’t connect on the phone, leave voice mails and send an email addressed to both people. If an external recruiter introduced you, be sure to check in with that person and copy him/her on emails.

If you connect with administrative assistants rather than your targets, don’t be upset. Except for making the decision, good AAs can do everything needed to get you hired.

Because of this, an AA might be your best contact. I have seen them take ownership for completing a search more than once (getting interviews scheduled, completing paperwork, etc.). They dislike telling you there’s no news, so they often take the initiative to keep the process moving forward.

In making your contacts, you will demonstrate your follow-up skills and build relationships. The relationships might or might not help you get the job but, worst case, you will have added people to your professional network.

4. Accept What You Can & Can’t Control

After you do your two-week follow-up, say the Serenity Prayer, and keep on finding and creating more great career options for yourself.

You can’t control the behavior of the people inside the company, but you can control your own.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at donnasvei@gmail.com for more information.

Image Courtesy of Courtney Recker
Updated February 2018

© 2010 – 2018, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

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Comments 7

  1. I know exactly what this blog post is saying. I had contacted an employer and I did everything you stated in this post: 2-column cover letter, called the HR and left a message. I sent another cover letter, my resume and link to my portfolio and I haven’t heard anything back. It’s kind of hard waiting because this is my dream job.

    Anyway, thank you for the post! It really helped understand the wait.

  2. It’s not only the waiting – it’s all the negative thoughts that flood the mind eroding one’s self-esteem – while waiting. Especially if it’s a recurring scenario. Your suggestions & info shed light on the process, distancing the negative energy of (love your acronym) MSUing (making stuff up) as to why you haven’t heard back. Acknowledge yourself for having done your best up to this point & don’t take the waiting ‘void’ personally!
    Didi

  3. Thanks.good thoughts.
    I’ve found it universal that the day they say they will call is never the case.
    I usually joke and ask “ok Tuesday.what week?”

  4. Thank you for writing this article – great advice!

    Thank you Stephanie. Donna

  5. Wonderful article. One frustration I have had is when an employer with whom an interview occurrred won’t “let you go” so to speak. I had one interview in which the time between the first contact and receiving of the word that another person was hired was just 3 days short of 3 months. THAT is frustrating. Clearly I understand that there can be delays, but to me, if I truly was a great candidate, there would have been no need to stretch out the interview process that long. I would have much preferred that they tell me perhaps a month after my interview that they were still looking, but that I did not meet their requirements, thereby letting me mentally go, so to speak.

    And yes, I understand that perhaps they were holding me in reserve just in case they didn’t find their ideal candidate. The problem is, if that was the case, and they would have ended up hiring me, then I have to believe that they perceived me as not a great choice and therefore I would have started the job in negative territory before I put in my first full day.

    So I guess my advice then is if the time elapsed between the interview and still hearingthat the interview process is still going on is 30-45 days, then one has to mentally move on and write it off. Don’t do like I did still holding out a glimmer of hope in the 3rd month following the interview.

    Best of luck to all reading this! Hang tough!

    Bob, Thank you for your comments. One grace note…there’s every reason under the sun for a long elapsed time between first meeting and an offer. An offer is an offer…don’t let the time it took to get there tarnish a new employment relationship. You might never know the real reason it took so long and it might have absolutely nothing to do with you. Donna

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