If you’ve recently submitted an application, it’s only natural to wonder how long it takes to hear back about a job. The outcome could have a significant impact on your future, so you want to know as soon as possible!
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In the guide below we’ll explain how long it typically takes to hear back about a job application, and what you should do while you wait.
How Long Does it Take to Hear Back from a Job?
On average, it takes hiring managers one to two weeks to reach out to potential hirees after receiving an application. However, that’s not always the case. Ultimately, the timeline you can expect depends entirely on the company you’re trying to work for.
You have to remember that employers will receive an onslaught of applications after publishing a job post. Depending on the position and location, they could have hundreds or thousands of resumes to sift through. It’s a reasonable expectation to give companies a couple of weeks to do their due diligence.
Of course, there are instances when things will move quickly (or very slowly). It all depends on a number of factors.
Why You Might Hear Back Quickly
In some cases, hiring managers will reach out much sooner. Usually, that happens when the position in question is pivotal to business operations (but isn’t too senior). Maybe the previous employee left the company without much notice, leaving the organization scrambling and losing money.
When that happens, hiring managers tend to work fast to find suitable candidates and move the hiring process forward. In this scenario, it’s not uncommon to hear back within a few days at most!
If you’re fortunate, you might hear back earlier than two weeks because your application stood out. Employers can hasten the hiring process if they feel you’re a good fit. Consider yourself lucky in those moments!
It’s important to note that some companies will begin reviewing resumes immediately. There has been some research that found applying early in the process can help you get noticed. Whenever possible, apply sooner rather than later.
Why You Might Have To Wait A While
On the other hand, sometimes it can take a lot longer than two weeks to hear back from a job. It’s rare, but it’s not unheard of for companies to wait a month before contacting an applicant with good news. Some government jobs are known to take upwards of eight weeks before finally reaching out to potential hirees!
From an outside standpoint, waiting that long isn’t a smart choice for hiring managers. But in many cases, it’s out of their hands.
Things can change internally during the job search. The parameters of the hiring process could evolve, and companies can decide to go with an inside promotion or change what they’re looking for halfway through the search.
The timing could be an issue as well. For example, the organization could be short-staffed due to vacations, or maybe they’re setting a new budget and have to wait until things go through before proceeding. Whatever the case may be, those rare timelines do occur.
Generally, it’s best to wait at least two weeks to hear back from a job before considering the possibility that you didn’t get the job. There’s still a chance that employers could reach out after the two-week point, and this is why it’s so important to reach out or follow up after two weeks.
Another vital point to remember is that the countdown should start after the posting’s closing date. You may or may not see this information in the job posting. The closing date is the last day the employer will accept applications.
Some hiring managers won’t even start looking for suitable candidates until after that closing day. So, your two-week countdown can begin there for good measure.
If you don’t see a closing date, you can start the two-week timeline whenever you confirm the company got your application and resume. Many large applications use an applicant tracking system that screens applications. The software typically sends an automated email when everything has been received.
If you don’t receive an automated response that your application was received, it’s important to take some of the steps below.
What to Do While Waiting for Them to Respond
Wondering how long it’s going to take to hear back about a job application is one of the most stress-inducing parts of the job search. It can feel like a lifetime of waiting to know your fate!
Instead of letting yourself get worked up sitting by the phone or refreshing your email, there are more productive ways to use your time.
Here are some things you can do while you wait for a response.
1. Ask Someone Who Works Inside the Company
Know someone who already works at the organization you applied to? Reach out to them for some internal insight.
As we mentioned earlier, many factors can delay the hiring process. If any internal changes prevent the hiring managers from proceeding with the search, your inside connection might know about it. They can give you a heads up, hopefully easing your worries and giving you enough information to adjust your timeline.
While you’re in contact with someone who works inside the company, see if they can help you network. Not everyone is willing to connect you to the right people, but if this insider is someone you’re close to, they can get you in touch with all the right people.
Effective networking can give you a leg up in any industry. The right connections go a long way, so you should always jump at any opportunity to expand your professional network. Having someone inside is like already having a toe in the door!
2. Ask Someone Who Recently Applied
Other potential applicants might also provide some insight into what’s going on with the hiring process.
Ask around to see if you know anyone who’s applied for a similar position. If it’s a well-known business with an opening specific to your industry or trade, there’s a good chance that some people in your networking circle applied, too. Industries are pretty tight-knit, and everyone is connected in some way.
Again, this is where the importance of networking comes in!
Once you find someone, reach out and see if they’ve heard anything. Their response can give you some valuable insight into the hiring process and how long you should expect to wait before hearing back.
If you both applied at the same time and the company has already reached out to them, you know that your chances of getting a response aren’t great. The hiring managers have clearly begun setting up interviews, and the process is moving forward. While it’s disappointing, at least you know. Now you can stop worrying and move on to other potential job openings.
But let’s say that your colleague didn’t hear back. That could mean that you’re still in the running. It might indicate delays and hiring managers haven’t reached out to anyone yet. Of course, that’s all conjecture, but it’s better than not knowing anything at all.
Even if your colleague is just as anxious as you are, they could have some insight that you don’t. Maybe they have an inside acquaintance, too. Sharing that information can provide peace of mind across the board.
3. Be Ready to Follow Up After Two Weeks
As you wait to hear back from a job, it’s always a good idea to prepare for your follow-up correspondence. If you have the hiring manager’s email address, follow-ups are a great way to express interest and see where you stand in the hiring process.
Whether or not you choose to do this is up to you. Some people don’t follow up with companies unless it’s a position they truly want and feel they’re qualified to have. Others send them out with every application!
Generally, the best practice is to reserve follow-up contact for your top-choice jobs.
One crucial thing to remember is that you should always wait two weeks before calling or emailing the employer. Two weeks is the average timeline for hiring managers to reach out. When in doubt, reread the job posting and email confirming receipt of your application and see if a time frame was provided. If nothing was mentioned about when to follow up, you’ll probably want to wait the full two weeks.
You can craft the email early, just don’t hit the “send” button!
When it comes to how you follow up, simple is best! Keep the email short and sweet. State who you are, what position you applied for, and briefly mention why you feel you’re qualified.
The goal here is to express interest. If the hiring manager is looking through applications, your follow-up email could help you stand out. It shows your dedication, which might give you a slight advantage.
4. Keep Looking and Applying
Here’s the most important tip we can give: Don’t stop your job search!
Don’t leave your fate in the hands of a single employer. Even if that job is your dream position and there are early signs you got the job, continuing your job search is paramount. You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. It’s far too risky and could end up harming you in the long run.
Keep looking and applying while you wait to hear back about the job application. Not only does that improve your prospects for gaining employment, but it’ll help you keep your mind off the wait. The best thing you can do is stay busy looking for new opportunities.
Who knows? You may end up finding a job that’s even better.
Keep your options open and see what’s out there. It’s also a good idea to keep track of what companies you’ve applied for during your search. That way, you don’t mix up names and positions should you get the response you want.
5. Manage Your Stress
Last but certainly not least, don’t neglect your self-care.
There’s no denying that job searches are stressful. They can be a rollercoaster of emotions. One second you feel excited and eager to apply. But several weeks later, you might start to feel down and out because you didn’t hear back from an employer.
Those emotions are perfectly reasonable. It’s alright to be disappointed about not getting a job. Take a moment to let your feelings out and experience that sadness.
But after that? Move on.
Don’t dwell on missed opportunities because there’s always something else on the horizon. Focus on your mental well-being and take steps to manage your stress levels.
While you’re waiting to hear back from a job, spend time with family and friends. Put some time into your hobbies and indulge in activities that bring you peace! Don’t be afraid to take a mental health day every once in a while.
Applying for open positions can feel like a full-time job full of nothing but stress and disappointment. Take a day off to unwind and reset. You’ll thank yourself for it later!
Are There Ways You Can Speed Up the Response Time?
Now that you know how long it takes to hear back from a job, it’s only natural to wonder if you can speed things up. Luckily, there are a few things that might make the process go by a little quicker. There are no guarantees, but certain application techniques are known to leave a lasting impression on hiring managers.
The first thing you can do is limit applications to positions with requirements that closely match your qualifications. There’s nothing wrong with applying for jobs if you only meet some requirements. Many employers are open to training new hires if they’re a good fit.
But if you match qualifications to a tee, your application will instantly stand out. Limiting your applications to those jobs can reduce that dreaded wait time!
Another thing you can do to make your application more appealing is to make sure you have researched salaries and know the range you are asking for is in line with the jobs you are applying to. Always know your worth! Most applications will ask for a numeric salary requirement – either a single number or a range.
However, some hiring managers won’t consider applicants if the expected salary exceeds a certain threshold. If your range is close, be ready to say you’re open to negotiations when you get called for the screening interview. If the hiring managers feel that you’re a fantastic fit, you can negotiate and get to where you want to be. Employers are more likely to consider salaries outside their initial range once they see your qualifications and meet you in person.
Finally, you can craft your resume with both the hiring manager and the applicant tracking system in mind. As mentioned earlier, many larger businesses use software to sift through applications and find the ones that fit the position closest. Use that technology to your advantage.
As you craft your resume, implement keywords from the job post. Make adjustments so that your resume looks tailor-made for that position.
Never lie or exaggerate.
A tailored resume has a better chance of appealing to the hiring manager or recruiter, plus it is likely to stand out in the applicant tracking system.
While it’s normal to wonder how long it takes to hear back about a job, don’t let the wait consume you!
Instead, take the recommended steps to be proactive and improve your odds while you wait. You’ll be happy you did.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.