You thought you had a great job interview, and you left confident that you’d be hearing good news from the company soon. Your interviewer might have even told you that they wanted to move quickly. And then … silence. What’s going on? Why is it taking so long for the employer to get back to you after a seemingly great interview?
It helps to realize that employers and candidates are often on two very different timelines. For candidates, hiring processes can feel like they’re moving incredibly slowly. But for employers, who often have many priorities above hiring to juggle, taking weeks or even months to get back to candidates might not feel unreasonable.
While you’re waiting for an update, though, it can be useful to understand what might be going on behind the scenes. Here are five of the most common reasons that you haven’t heard anything yet.
1. The employer hasn’t finished the interview process yet. You might think that it’s a bad sign if the company is continuing to interview other candidates, but if often doesn’t mean anything at all. Most employers want to interview at least three to five people for any given slot, sometimes more. And these interviews can be set up well in advance, before they even met with you. Depending on people’s schedules, those interviews could go on for weeks after they talked with you – without being any reflection on you at all.
2. Something came up and got in the way. Job seekers tend to assume that hiring goes smoothly and quickly on the employer’s side, but there can be plenty of bumps along the way – whether it’s a budget question that needs to be ironed out before they can make a hire, a decision-maker being out on vacation, a more crucial role becoming vacant and needing to be dealt with first, or an unrelated work priority getting in the way. All of these can make the process drag out much longer than the employer themselves envisioned, and certainly longer than antsy job seekers would prefer.
3. They’re resolving questions about the position itself. Sometimes hiring needs can change or be thrown into question. A new project might have the hiring manager wondering if she needs to hire someone with PR experience in addition to the other qualifications she was seeking. Or the job description might have seemed right until the department’s deputy announced she’s resigning, and now the manager is figuring out whether to combine that role with the one you interviewed for, reconfigure it altogether, or move various players around. This is the kind of thing you can’t tell from the outside, but can often throw hiring timelines into disarray.