Woman wearing a pink business suit holding a coffee and looking at her phone as if waiting for a message

Searching for a new job is exciting, but it also takes time, energy and sometimes a lot of patience. Once you’ve nailed an interview, it might feel like you’re in the home stretch—but the time waiting to hear back after the interview can feel like forever.

The good news is you don’t have to sit idly by! There are some productive steps you can take to keep your job search active and distract you from any anxiety you may feel waiting for that call back.

While You’re Waiting to Hear Back After an Interview

1. Ask about their timelines in the interview

(Ok so this one is for during the interview. If it’s too late now, keep it in mind for future interviews!)

As you get to the end of an interview, ask about the next steps and timeline, so you’ll know what to expect in the coming days. Many interviewers will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” at the end, so that’s the perfect time to inquire.

2. Send a follow-up email

Within 24 hours of the interview, follow up with an email thanking the interviewer(s) for their time and expressing your enthusiasm for the role. This is a nice touch and can demonstrate that you’re genuinely interested after learning more in the interview.

A caution: Do not repeatedly bombard them with emails. Spamming the hiring manager or recruiter will likely negatively impact your candidacy. You can send another follow-up if you don’t hear back after an appropriate amount of time; base this on the timeline they gave you (i.e. if they said expect to hear back in five business days and it’s been six, go ahead and follow up). If you didn’t get a specific timeline, roughly a week is likely a safe guideline.

3. Keep job hunting

Just because you had an interview, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Keep up the momentum on your job search by exploring other opportunities that align with your skills, experience and career goals.

Diversifying your job search increases your chance of success and provides you with options so you’re not overly attached to just one role. If you do end up landing multiple offers, you have the chance to pick your favourite and politely decline the others.

4. Check your email, answer calls, listen to voicemail messages

Make sure you’re ready to receive that call or email when it does come!

  • Check your email regularly, including folders like spam, junk, promotions, clutter and any other filtering you might have in place.
  • Answer phone calls. While many of us screen unknown callers normally, during a job hunt it may be to your advantage to answer them all.
  • Check your voicemail. If you miss calls, make sure to check your messages… a job offer could be waiting! And while we’re talking about voicemail, give your outgoing voicemail greeting a listen to make sure the message is clear, professional and includes your name so potential employers know they’ve reached the right person.

5. Reflect on the interview & prepare for the next one

Think back on the interview and use this as an opportunity to learn and potentially improve for the next one:

  • What do you think you did well and should continue doing in future interviews?
  • What could you do better next time?
  • If there were questions that stumped you, prepare answers for similar questions in the future.
  • If there was something they asked about that you wish you’d included in your resume, add it for future applications.
  • If there were skills they asked about that you don’t have, you could explore future learning and development opportunities.

Check out our Career Resources to help you brush up on interview skills!

6. Line up your references

If you haven’t already, reach out to the people you’re hoping to use as references and let them know that employers may be calling about you. It can also be helpful to send them a copy of your current resume for reference.

Make sure the references you’ve chosen have worked closely enough with you to comfortably talk about your skills and experience, and that they’re likely to speak positively about working with you.

7. Keep your LinkedIn active

This can be a great time to do another pass on your LinkedIn profile. Does your profile match what’s on your resume? Hiring managers might be suspicious if it doesn’t! If you haven’t already, flesh out other aspects of your profile like the ‘About’ section, volunteer experience, skills, coursework, etc.

You can leverage your network by adding people who you know as connections, let them know you’re looking for work and ask for recommendations where appropriate. Join groups relevant to your career and participate in conversations.

LinkedIn is a common way for employers and recruiters to reach out to job seekers, so login often to check if you’ve missed any messages, and optimize your settings for notifications and emails. Make sure you haven’t opted-out of InMail messages—if you have, turn it back on while you’re job hunting.

8. Stay updated and connected

Stay up-to-date on the company you just interviewed with, to help prepare you for potential follow-up interviews. Search for them online, read any recent news about the organization and check out their social media accounts. You can also expand this to the industry and check out professional associations, LinkedIn groups and general industry news.

9. Practice self-care

Job searching can be stressful and takes a lot of energy, so make sure to prioritize self-care. Engage in activities that help you relax and recharge, whether that’s socializing, exercising, watching a movie, reading a good book or pursuing hobbies—and make sure to get enough sleep! Taking care of your well-being will help you feel more energized and resilient, ready to continue tackling job applications and interviews.

Working With Recruitment Agencies

If you’re working with a recruitment agency:

  • Respect the relationship your recruiter has with their client (the employer interviewing you)—don’t directly contact the employer unless the recruiter has given you the green light to do so
  • Update the recruiter after any interviews they’ve arranged for you and use them as the check-in point regarding the status of your application
  • You can keep the recruiter updated on your job search with periodic emails, but be mindful of their time and avoid excessive emailing or calling

If It’s Taking Longer Than Expected…

If it’s taking longer than you hoped to hear back after an interview, here are a few things that may be happening:

  • They could still be conducting other interviews. Even if you’re a great fit for the job, they may have lined up other candidates and need to complete those meetings.
  • People involved with hiring are often busy folks. Hiring may be only one small part of their job, or they could be a talent acquisition professional currently juggling the hiring process for several different roles.
  • There may be multiple decision-makers involved. The person who interviewed you might not have the final say, and they could be waiting on approval from colleagues or senior management.
  • You could be their second choice. That can be hard to hear, but they may be offering the job to another candidate first, and you’ll hear back if that offer is declined.
  • Unfortunately, sometimes things fall through. As much as we hate to say it, some hiring managers unfortunately do ghost candidates. Or, the company’s staffing needs have suddenly changed, or they’re dealing with an unexpected business issue, or the person who interviewed you has since resigned and someone else is picking up the pieces. Unanticipated situations are another reason why it’s good to keep your job search active while you wait (see point #3 above).

Although it can be difficult at times, waiting is part of the job search process. Remember that each interview is an opportunity for growth and learning, regardless of the outcome. By staying proactive, patient and focused on what you can control, you can navigate this waiting period and keep moving forward on your career journey.


Looking for a Job?

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