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What To Do When a Job Interview Process Takes Too Long

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Playing the waiting game can be frustrating, whether it’s waiting for the next payday, a shipment to arrive or for a dinner delivery to get to your door.

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But waiting for an employer to get back to you about a job you’ve been interviewing for can be excruciating — especially if your savings are getting low and you really need the work.

The open job market is in an incredibly complex place right now. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that just 37% of candidates will get an offer after interviewing for a job, it’s also been said workers currently have the upper hand in the labor market.

“There are nearly two job openings for every unemployed worker,” CNBC reported in late August, adding that, “These dynamics amount to ample choices for workers in the job market, giving them negotiating power, according to economists.”

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Still, if you think you’re being “ghosted” by the company you interviewed with, there are some good ways to get in touch to show your interest without being percieved as annoying.

Per Forbes, it’s actually pretty normal to go without a response for a couple weeks. They noted that, “On average, a company takes 24 business days to respond, though this varies by industry.” Forbes indicated, based on data, that technology and manufacturing businesses may offer a job within 16 business days, but hospitality businesses could take 40 days to reach out.

Usually the hiring process is pretty quick — and does not typically take more than six weeks post-interview — since, per ADP, trying to fill a job opening can cost employers around $4,129 during that time.

Touch Base Without Being Too Forceful

If you’re anxious to learn more about a job opening you had interviewed for, you might follow up with an email or phone call about a week after the interview — but only if the hiring manager didn’t specify a firm timeline. If they did provide a timeline, wait it out patiently.

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If there’s still nothing after 30 days, Forbes suggested alternative options to get in touch — particularly around what they call “cold networking.” That is, asking current employees (those you may know of) a few questions about the company so your name may come up, finding people on LinkedIn who work there that you have connections (or an alma mater) in common with, and similar soft yet social techniques.

Indeed also recommended emailing the head of the relevant department directly as they may have a large influence on who is hired. If you opt to do so, keep it formal — especially if you haven’t yet met them or interviewed with them.

Move On, Consider New Job Opportunities, and Keep Your Options Open

But, if trying a few different methods of communication doesn’t pay off, it may be time to move on. “Do you really want to work at a company with leadership or human resources that don’t have the time or consideration to respond to your inquiries?” was the question posed by Forbes.

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There are other cases, however, where the hiring team is keeping you involved but may be taking too long to make a decision. This could be due to a company budget being finalized, other internal approvals or the dreaded red tape. Or, they might just have a long list of candidates to interview despite liking what you bring to the table.

If you are involved in this sort of hiring limbo, it’s always best to be open about your availability — particularly if you are facing a somewhat less-desirable offer from another company but would prefer to work with those who are hesitant to hire. Be polite but honest in letting the latter company know you’re facing an attractive competing offer, and that you’ll need to make that decision by a certain date. One way or another, you’ll have a position open for you.

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Broadly speaking, interviewing is always good practice and helps make you ready for the next opportunity. According to Indeed, when things don’t go your way, it’s best to “accept this position was not for you and consider what you could improve on to better your chances of securing the next job you interview for.”

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