How Long to Hear Back from Job Application: Dos and Don’ts
When you’re in an active job search, every day counts and every application you send in often feels like your only chance to land that position. With such a mindset, waiting for feedback can be especially difficult and, if taken too seriously, even nerve-racking.
But in fact, you never have to make it a big deal—just know what to expect.
For your peace of mind, we’ve gathered all the information you might need. This article covers how long it typically takes to hear back after applying for a job, what you should and shouldn’t do while you wait and how you can boost your odds.
Let’s look at some statistics on the hiring process average length gathered by Indeed:
- 44% of applicants have to wait a couple of weeks for the employer to reach out
- 37% hear back from their hiring managers within one week
- 4% get their job offer in a day
So, it often takes the employer one to two weeks to respond to the job seeker. However, these time frames aren’t set in stone.
Each application process is unique, with many factors impacting the outcome.
In many cases, the time it takes to hear back from a job is greatly influenced by how big or small the company is.
For example, when applying for a position in a family-run business, it’s fair to expect a response within a couple of days. With large companies, it can take a few months for your application to get through many levels of the HR department.
Number of Candidates
Keep in mind the popularity of the position you’re targeting. If it’s a dream job that’s always in demand among applicants, you’ll hardly hear from the company in a couple of days. More likely, it’ll take the hiring managers a few weeks to do their due diligence: process all job application materials, pick the right person and follow up.
Your Interview Performance
When applying for a job with a lot of other candidates, remember: in their interview, someone might’ve shown up better than you.
Therefore, the potential employer is more likely to reach out to them first—and only later follow up with the other interviewees, if needed.
- Re-read the Job Posting: Carefully go through the job description once again. What with the information density, you might well have missed the closing date or the fact that they need a new person in the next year only. If so, adjust your expectations accordingly.
- Ask Their Employee (Or Other Applicants): Maybe you know someone who’s already working in that company? If you do, ask them how long their hiring process usually takes. Even if they can’t give any specifics, they may know an approximate time frame and any internal changes affecting it. Alternatively, if you’ve met some of your fellow applicants, you can reach out to them and ask whether they’ve heard back from the new job yet.
- Follow Up Within a Week: Never assume that the hiring manager always keeps you in mind. Believe us, they don’t. To make sure you stay on their radar, write a follow-up email (or make a phone call, if appropriate). Say your thanks for their time and politely ask when you can anticipate their feedback.
- Keep Applying for Other Jobs: Don’t make any job application your only focus. With so many factors influencing the waiting time, it’s just unreasonable. Accept that there isn’t much you can change to wait less—and continue your job search.
- Make the Final Follow-Up: In case it’s already been a few weeks, make sure to remind them of you one more time before moving forward. If they don’t respond anyway, it might be wiser to channel your effort to other job opportunities.
- Spam With Follow-Ups: There should be moderation in all things. Make one follow-up within a week after your interview and, if there’s no answer, make a second one later—and that’s it. Spamming with reminders won’t help you hear back from a job sooner.
- Reach Out in a Messenger or Social Media: Communicating through messengers usually implies a degree of urgency, so we don’t recommend contacting your hiring manager this way, even during business hours. As for social media, this will either be unprofessional (if it’s the company’s profile made for other purposes) or inappropriate (if it’s the hiring manager’s private profile).
- Stress Out: Don’t sit and wait for the company to contact you, it’ll only cause unnecessary worry and waste your time! Instead, come to terms with the fact that you may never hear from them again and move on to other job applications.
While some of the dos and don’ts mentioned above will already be helpful, there are a few other things you can do to improve your odds.
To the obvious ‘the better you show up at the interview, the higher your chances’, we can add a few tips:
- Make a Tailored and Keyword-Optimized Resume: If your prospective employer is using an applicant tracking system, find out what specific keywords are the most frequent in your field and use them in your resume. To top it off, make sure you adapt the contents to the job description and include a cover letter as well.
- Include a Striking Photo in Your Resume: Getting into search results isn’t always enough. When scrolling through job seekers, your hiring manager may overlook you. Stand apart from square one and include a professional picture in your resume! Today, you can even get one from home in an AI headshot generator.
- Say Thanks If Invited for an Interview: Once your resume catches their eye and you get an invitation, reply with a brief thank-you note. This will show your employers that you’re sincerely interested in this position and give you a headstart at the interview itself.
Waiting to Hear Back After Applying: Final Thoughts
As you see, it often pays to be attentive and send a follow-up email before and after you’ve met the potential employer. But if we were to single out one most important tip, it’d be the following: don’t treat any application as if you’re meant for it.
In job searching, it’s important to know when to let go and keep applying for other jobs. Don’t put all the eggs in one basket. Maybe you will hear back from a job or maybe you won’t—one way or another, you can’t do much about it. Besides, having a fixation on a single employer can distort your judgment.
Stay positive, exercise self-care and keep applying—sooner or later, this will help you find a dream job.