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Going through a job interview and hearing nothing from the company afterward can fill you with doubt and confusion.
But in most cases, the holdup has nothing to do with your candidacy. Your best bet is to wait for an appropriate amount of time to pass — more on that in a moment — and send a follow-up email to the interviewer or recruiter.
When to follow up after no response
In an ideal world, candidates would hear from the company within a week or so of an interview, says Ayanna E. Jackson, a career coach based in Washington, D.C.
That timeline can vary, though, depending on who you ask. Kyle Elliott, a career coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area, says candidates can expect to wait up to two weeks to hear from a company after an interview.
So, if it’s been at least a week since you’ve interviewed with a company, and you haven’t heard from them, send a follow-up email. (Note: This is separate from a thank-you email that you should send within one day of every interview.)
How to write a follow-up email after no response
If you’re emailing a recruiter, specifically mention which position you interviewed for, who interviewed you and the date the interview took place.
Recruiters are “often juggling 20, 30, 40 open roles,” Elliott says. “By following up, you're simply helping them do their job.”
Even if you’re emailing the interviewer themself, mention what position you interviewed for, because that person could be conducting interviews for multiple roles.
Once you remind the recruiter or interviewer who you are, ask if there are any updates on the interviewing process. You can also ask when the company expects to have an update for you.
Keep the email friendly and succinct. Remember: You’re trying to reach somebody who’s busy, so make your email easy to read and answer.
Here’s what a follow-up email may look like:
It was great getting to speak with [Name] about the [role] on [date]. Do you have any updates regarding the interview process? I’m extremely interested in the role and would love the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications.
If there aren’t any updates on the interview process right now, when should I expect to hear from you?
And don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. If your interviewer or recruiter includes their phone number in their signature, give them a call. It’s not overly pushy, experts say.
“Sometimes, you gotta do what other candidates won’t do,” Jackson says.
If your initial follow-up email or phone call goes unanswered, wait between three and four days before reaching out again, Jackson says. But after three unanswered emails, you may want to move onto other job opportunities.
Why you may not be getting a response after an interview
Companies rarely ghost candidates on purpose. In most cases, they don’t get back to candidates in a timely manner because of the same day-to-day minor disorganizations that affect all businesses, says Jackson, who spent 20 years working in human resources at companies like NPR, Starbucks and General Electric.
“Candidates think the recruiting process is all buttoned-up and timed and organized — and it’s not,” Jackson says.
Jackson has first-hand experience with the circumstances that keep companies from prompt communication: employees being out sick, on vacation or inundated with other deadlines; and managers juggling multiple interviews. Many businesses also experience seasonal slowdowns during summer and winter holidays, or become preoccupied with annual planning at the end of the fiscal year, around August or September.
“I’ve seen that pretty consistently at just about every organization I’ve worked at,” Jackson says.
So try not to read too much into the delay. “Very rarely is it personal that people are ghosting,” Elliott says. “It's usually some other factor that has nothing to do with you as a job seeker or as a person.”