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I had technical and HR interviews with a company last month. Both went well, and they wanted me to submit my references. This was in the last week of October, and I got a reply from the hiring manager that the references turned out good and they'd contact me soon about further discussions.

I have been following up regularly (a mail a week) since then, and there was only one mail from the hiring manager informing me that he's on vacation (in the first week of November) and would be contacting me the coming week, which was supposed to be last week. I'm a non-EU individual, and the job is located in the Schengen region.

How long should I wait before moving on? Does it usually take more than two or three weeks for the organization to come up with an offer letter or something?

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4 Answers 4

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Zero time.

Why does anyone “wait” on a job? Be continually seeking and interviewing. If they eventually get back to you maybe you have multiple offers to choose from. If they don’t you’re not set back. You should never frame job searching in terms of waiting on others.

You can of course follow up on specific jobs you’re interested in if they don’t keep you updated, 1/week at most. See How do I properly follow-up with a hiring manager, to check on the status of a position? for more on that.

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    As a job seeker, there's just absolutely no stopping an employer ghosting you. The only thing you can do is when they do get around to contacting you, you tell them you already took another offer. That's really the only result that will get them to change.
    – Nelson
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 16:31
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Does it usually take more than two or three weeks for the organization to come up with an offer letter or something?

Yes, it can definitely take 2-3 weeks for an organization to come up with an offer letter. Depending on the size of the organization there may be many different management levels required for sign-off. This delay could be exacerbated by any number of factors including people other than the hiring manager being on holiday, visa/ residency confirmation or the manager getting agreement on the offer. Until you're told otherwise the offer isn't off the table.

How long should I wait before moving on?

You shouldn't wait. Until you have accepted an offer you should continue to look and apply for a new role.

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  • It seems very unusual that after checking references it would take that long to get an offer. Checking references is usually done as the very last step before extending an offer.
    – DaveG
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 18:08
  • I've worked in a number of large organizations that have this disconnect after a preferred candidate is selected. It's generally a delegation issue where the hiring manager needs authorization to make the offer but needs to have completed reference checks before they can put the recommendation forward. I prefer practices like in the UK where an offer is made conditional on good references being received after the candidate has accepted it.
    – DWGKNZ
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 18:51
  • @DaveG It's rare, but not that rare. It's taken me as long as six months to go through the process of getting hired (government job) Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 21:52
  • It's possible that an offer can take weeks to come through, but almost always such delays are communicated to the candidate and the candidate is kept informed. Employers know as well as the candidates that ghosting is a way of saying no without saying "no". There's certainly a bit of grey area for what duration of no communication constitutes ghosting, but more than a week and non-responses to emails crosses that threshold in my experience.
    – teego1967
    Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 14:56
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How long should I wait before moving on? Does it usually take more than two or three weeks for the organization to come up with an offer letter or something?

Given you're in Europe, I'm not sure if that is common. Generally from what I seen an employer will move fast with giving an offer letter especially in a high demand job.

I do agree with other posters here that you should continue with your job search. You done all you can here and give them one more follow up email about a week after the interview then move on. I would continue to post jobs and continue with your job search.

However, keep in mind that unless there was some sort of delay with funding or corporate overhead they had to clear before they can hire someone, I generally wouldn't want to be employed by a place that doesn't care about replying to someone asking questions. If they can ghost you now they can most certainly just ghost you while employed.

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I'm going to echo the other answers and say you shouldn't wait at all. I'm going to go further and say that you shouldn't have waited at all (past tense). Until you have an offer in hand and signed, you don't have a job or even a pretense of a job. Always keep interviewing, no matter what, even if you have a deadline on the offer letter and they told you when it's coming, still keep interviewing. The company can always cancel the offer or cancel the position or come up with some other reason they can't hire you.

When they sent you the message that your references came back good and they would be in touch, your immediate next step should have been "ok, fine" and then continue to send out more applications or schedule additional interviews with other companies. Companies are always looking at applicants, so applicants should always be looking at companies, until you're locked in with an offer letter.

Get out there and keep going! And if this company comes back with their offer in a month from now after you've already accepted an offer with another company, simply send them back a note saying something to the effect of "sorry, you took too long replaying to me and I took another offer".

In fact, if they do end up coming back with an offer at all, I might grill them about this anyway: "You took 2 months (or whatever) to get me back an offer letter; why would I believe that you would respect my time when I join the company, and what assurances do I have that this won't happen again?" You don't want to work for a company where such a situation might happen with, for example, your paycheque, and you want to iron that out before you even consider signing any sort of offer letter; if the company is acting so unprofessionally at this stage, that's a huge red flag that they'll also act unprofessionally at later stages as well.

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  • I would avoid grilling the company, maybe they have a valid reason like the manager becoming seriously ill. What would you get out of grilling the company? It would not look good if you decide to reapply in the future.
    – MLEN
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 13:53
  • @MLEN The number of valid reasons for such a delay are vanishingly small. They have already confirmed that OP passed the interview and that the offer letter is coming. The manager being sick would not be sufficient, because the manager is not the one who writes the offer letter, it's someone in HR. So literally every single person in the entire company (HR and other departments) capable of writing an offer letter would have to become sick, all at the same time, or something similar. The probability of this is vanishingly small.
    – Ertai87
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 16:23
  • I agree the number of valid reasons is indeed very small. But I would say that the benefit of "grilling" the company is smaller than vanishingly small unless you can tell us the benefit and how that can serve one in the future.
    – MLEN
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 16:35
  • By "grilling", I mean asking them a very pointed question: "Why did this take so long, and what assurances do I have that issues of similar importance will not be treated with similar expediency, or lack thereof, in the future?". The reason why this is important is because it's important that one's paycheque, which is an issue of similar importance to one's hiring, is not delivered a month late. That would be fairly serious, if that issue in particular, or others similar, were treated with the same attitude as this offer letter.
    – Ertai87
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 16:39
  • Other similar issues of high importance include issues such as workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, or legally-questionable activities going on at the workplace, which really ought not to be dealt with on a month's delay. I wouldn't want to work for a company who takes a month to follow up on a sexual harassment complaint (whether that followup is actionable or not), and many employees and customers of Activision Blizzard seem to agree with me.
    – Ertai87
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 16:41

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