You had job interviews at a place you’d like to work. The interviews seemed to go well. Maybe one of the interviewers said they looked forward to working with you. But, not a word from them since then.
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 some other time in the past. Their own deadline has passed — maybe days, maybe weeks ago. But, you haven’t heard from them. And, you may never hear from them. Or, you may hear from them tomorrow...
Don’t “pause” your job search while you wait for an answer.
Do NOT put your job search on hold while you wait to hear the news on any job! Keep your job search momentum rolling. Until you hold a job offer (with the right job title, salary, and start date) in your hand, you don’t have a new job.
But, don’t assume that no news is bad news for your job search!
You will probably not be told what happened, but don’t give up on an opportunity too soon. Employers almost always need more time to fill a job than they believe they will. Particularly if it has only been few days or a couple of weeks past the date the employer said they’d get back to you, don’t give up on the job. Yet!
10 Things that Could Be Happening While You Wait
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 probably has little to do with you. Or it could have everything to do with you.
Without intending, the employer’s plans for the timing of the next step in the hiring process are almost always too optimistic. Many things can disrupt the schedule, particularly in large organizations.
At the start of the process
1. Someone necessary to the process is missing.
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, fired or quit, etc.) or handling an emergency. Until that person is available, the process waits.
2. The other interviews are taking more time than expected.
Whether or not you were the first candidate interviewed, it may be a long wait. Interviews with other candidates are scheduled and re-scheduled as necessary people become available and unavailable (see #1).
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. And, figuring out who gets invited back is often a very complicated process involving meetings, discussions, email, and more meetings and discussions.
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-dos.
They are checking references and running background checks on all the finalists, and waiting for results before they make their decision.
5. Someone is missing, 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.