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I recently interviewed with a company on Friday in which I think the interview went really well. Now that it's Wednesday, I'm starting to get some jitters that I may not have gotten the position.

I have a few questions:

  1. How long does it normally take to receive an offer? - In my experience I've had anything from the next day to multiple weeks.
  2. Would it be appropriate to send a follow-up email? If so, what would be the ideal time to do so?
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Yea its a very broad question, I would wait at least 1 - 2 weeks –  Marriott81 Feb 26 at 16:04
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It can actually take months sometimes. Personally , I never wait on a response but keep on looking. If I want the job and have another offer, I might send them an email asking about whter I am still in consideration, but that is the only time. Hiring managers hate to be annoyed by these types of emails especally from candiates who are not in consideration. –  HLGEM Feb 26 at 16:08

4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

It depends.

Timelines for following up after interviews depends hugely on the company. A small company may get together after you leave, chat for half an hour, and make you a job offer the next day. A big company may take a week to gather opinions from everyone who interviewed you, and then have to send them all to HR, who will put you on the list of people they are gong to call back when they've finished the others. Some companies [cough]Google[/cough] will send the results to a committee who evaluate your performance, and may take weeks.

What is normal is that a good company (small or large) will tell you the timescale on which they are going to get back to you. If they said they will get back to you tomorrow, and they haven't, it's perfectly OK to give a polite reminder. If they said it will be a week, never bug them before that. The exception is if your circumstances change, and especially if another company is about to make an offer. Getting competing offers is always a good thing, and it's only fair to let a company know if they have a time limit.

If they didn't give you a time, three days is probably too soon to be bugging them. However what you can do is follow up with a 'thank you' and a polite enquiry. "Thanks for meeting with me on Friday. I really enjoyed talking to you quys. I wondered when I might expect to hear a decision about the next step from you?"

I wouldn't necessarily read anything about whether you got the job into a delay. With some companies, especially big ones, a delay is a good sign, since the next step involves doing something, like setting up more interviews, whereas if you were rejected they just have to call you. Or it might mean they have invited several candidates for interview and want to talk to them all before making a decision. Or it might be that the HR guy is sick, or that one of the interviewers went on vacation without giving his feedback. Stuff happens.

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This. If they don't let you know the time frame in which you can expect to hear back, ask what that timeframe is, and then if you don't hear in that timeframe plus a day or two, ask again. I would always ask for the timeframe at the end of an interview - even a phone screen. –  Joe Feb 26 at 17:03

Yes it does depend on a couple of things;

Whether you applied for the job either;

  • through an agent
  • directly to the company

If it was via an agent then it's the agent you have to chase, not the company itself. In the case of an agent then you can follow up with him the moment the interview is over - once you have left the interview premises - with your feedback, which of course encourages communication. The agent is more willing to fight for you when you build a rapport with them.

If it was direct with the company, then 5 days is normally a good time to wait until you contact them.

NOTE TO SELF FOR FUTURE;

At the end your interview with the following questions;

Do you have any reservations about me at this stage? When can I expect to hear from you?

This closes the loop and creates the expectation that you are not there for fun, but there with a purpose (the job of course!).

I've been in several jobs over my career and I can tell you, each time I ask these questions, the employers ALWAYS follow through so it works.

Much of what I've said is past tense yes, but hopefully it will help you moving forward, not just with your issue now.

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You know at the end when they ask if you have any questions? The one question you must always ask, if you still want the job, is:

What are the next steps and the timeline?

They may tell you that the next step is offers, or making a short list and having a second round of interviews. They may not want to get into that detail. But they are likely to give you something arm wavy like whether they will be in touch in a few days or a few weeks or what. For example, I scheduled interviews (never mind the decision period) over a period of two weeks. So whoever I interviewed first was going to get no information at all for at least two weeks, no matter how quickly I decided. I would tell an interviewee that, especially if they asked. If they are too vague "we'll be in touch..." it is less rude to ask now "do you think it will be next week, or within a month, or ...?" than to say nothing now and then send "just following up on our interview" emails repeatedly in the weeks after the interview.

Having missed this chance to ask, I would suggest two things to do:

  • first, and most importantly, don't stop interviewing. No matter how well this one went and how much you want it, you don't know their budget or who else they interviewed. Keep on looking.
  • second, only ask them if they have an update for you when you need to know to take some action such as when you have an offer from someone else, or an interview that is a lot of bother such as flying cross country, that you would decline if you knew this first firm was preparing an offer. Otherwise, leave them alone.
  • third, if you happen to have highly useful new information for them, that you know your contact would like, you can share it. "The new version of X I mentioned in the interview has now been announced. Link." "I'll be speaking at the user group nearest you next week." "My new X has been published. Link." Take a tone of "continuing our conversation" and just giving them more information.

As a hiring person, I am not going to forget a candidate who is in serious consideration for the position. I don't need to be reminded that this is one of the people I might hire. I know that. This isn't like a sales thing where the person might decide not to bother buying. I set out to hire someone and I'm going to hire someone. So pestering me does nothing to increase your chances of getting the job. (Showing you're eager? You came to my office and let me ask you personal questions for an hour or more. I already know you're eager.) You want to thank me for the interview, fine, do that right away not 3 days later - I know full well that 3 days later it's not "thankyou" it's a nag, and I don't need a nag. Worst case, it might move you into second place behind someone who had a little more patience and a little more understanding of the pace of my firm. Hard as it is, what you need to do now is wait, and keep on interviewing.

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The longer a company drags their feet, the less likely you are to get the job. After 2-3 days, you should effectively begin acting as though you will not be offered the job. They may come back sometime after that with an offer, but it is not likely.

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2  
... why? This really doesn't explain "why" to anything it says. –  enderland Feb 26 at 21:15

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