I did two interviews for this rather-small agency in the U.S. Both were more on the discovery and talk-about-yourself side - both went great, really connected with both interviewers - but at the end of the second one I was sent an assignment to solve rather than a technical interview. I did it, sent it, and went back and forth as they were having problems with the files. After everything was delivered I was thanked and told to wait for an update. After a week and a half of radio silence, I sent a follow-up and they let me know they've been busy and hadn't had the time to review my assignment, but that they were going to keep me posted "hopefully" during the week. It's been two weeks since then and I feel I should send another follow-up as there hasn't been any news in the timeframe I was given.

I know I should probably wait another two weeks - Holidays were one of the reasons they've been so busy, with everyone going on vacation. The thing is I'm completely lost on how to follow up as most examples and blogs I find online are not very specific to my case (unreviewed assignment). I would love to hear some opinions or ideas from people with more experience in the interview process, as this is something I struggle with.

  • 4
    It’s pretty common for agencies to be overwhelmed with work with year end “company using their remaining budget” requests. Then immediately shutdown for the holidays. Dec 18, 2022 at 13:04

3 Answers 3


You have done a thorough job of letting this company know you are interested, but I don't think you need to contact them again this week.

One exception to that is if you have an impending deadline. For example, if you receive a job offer from another company, then you would try to contact them again to convey a sense of urgency.

Unfortunately, the interview process can drag out for many weeks. I remember having my first contact with a company in early October, and things did not wrap up until late November. One advantage I had was that I was working with a recruiter who was giving me regular updates. After my first phone interview with the hiring manager, it was a few weeks before my second phone interview. That included an assignment they emailed to me, but I had to complete it live. And, yes, there were a couple glitches with the file they sent me. But, unlike your situation, there was no waiting around for results.

Then I waited a couple more weeks before the in-person interviews. Then I got an offer. It is quite common for a company to be very busy with their own deadlines, and it can be difficult for them to coordinate getting all the people they need to interview together on the same day.

If you are in contact with an HR/Talent person at the company, you could ask for advice on how to proceed.

In the meantime, you should consider pursuing other opportunities in parallel. I did, and I ended up turning down their offer for something better.

  • Thanks for your answer. I reached out to the recruiter that contacted me and I was informed about a stop to the hiring process until early February!
    – Jay
    Dec 20, 2022 at 13:47
  • @Jay: You're welcome. I'm glad you were able to find someone to respond to you.
    – toolic
    Dec 20, 2022 at 13:55

There are basically two possibilities: 1. They really are busy and just haven't gotten around to reviewing your assignment. 2. They have rejected you but don't want to flat out tell you that because they don't want to get into an argument.

In either case, repeated requests for status from you will not help.

If the first is true, then all you can do is wait. If the second is true, then there's no point waiting.

I've seen lots of questions that are some variety of "I applied for a job and the company hasn't gotten back to me". My answer is always: Don't sit by the phone waiting for them to call. Assume the answer is no and go out looking for other opportunities. If they do eventually call you back, great. If not, don't worry about it.

I recall one time in my life when a company said "we'll get back to you" and then they actually did get back to me months later. In that case, I had found another job and had just started at it. So I told them thanks but sorry, I had another job. If I hadn't found something, I probably would have been interested, but it was just too late. It wasn't such a great opportunity that I was going to quit the job I just started to take it.


This may be an unpopular opinion - but it is entirely possible that what happened is that the 'assignment' that you were asked to solve as part of the 'interview' - was actually something that really needed to be done... but they didn't want to pay a contractor to do it.

So they created a 'position', which included and 'interview' and ended with a 'technical assignment' - and once they got the work, they ghosted you like a bad date on Tinder.

Now, it could also be the time of the year - I would suggest that you send an email then a few days later follow up with a phone call (Within business hours, of course).

In future, if you are doing assignment work like that, you want to watermark it in some way. If it's photography, add a literal watermark and do not remove it - they don't need the watermark removed to check the quality of your work, if they insist, invoice them what you would for freelance work. If it's IT, make sure you include some form of kill-switch in the program (e.g. it will stop working after X days) - afterall, it's only a test of your abilities and therefore there should be no reason why it would be running in prod... For other industries, there's other mechanisms.

  • Add a kill-switch for an interview assignment? Yeah, I always do that.
    – coder4fun
    Dec 18, 2022 at 1:52
  • I did my research before starting the task, and luckily it seems like the assignment was a design from a previous client of the company, they were testing me with unapproved designs from their client, so I'm leaning more toward the time of the year/holidays thing
    – Jay
    Dec 18, 2022 at 2:52
  • It's possible. I saw a job posting once that said they wanted applicants to submit a complete system, "with full documentation", meeting requirements given in the posting. It was a modest-sized system, like 5 data entry screens, a dozen reports, and a database. I figured doing a quality job would take at least 2 weeks. And I wondered: Were these people really planning on hiring someone? Or was this just a ploy to get a system developed for free? Even if it was a legitimate job opening, this was for a cold application, not even on the short list yet. ...
    – Jay
    Dec 18, 2022 at 22:17
  • ... I could spend 2 weeks building this system to apply for this job. Or I could spend two weeks researching and applying for other opportunities. I could send out dozens, maybe hundreds of resumes to realistic possibilities with 2 weeks effort. I didn't build them a system. (BTW my user name is "jay" but not the same Jay who wrote the original post.)
    – Jay
    Dec 18, 2022 at 22:19

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