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Finding a Job

Q&A: How Long Should You Wait to Hear Back About a Job?

July 27, 2020

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The most difficult period of the job search is often the in-between time. You’ve polished your resume, written a cover letter and applied for the position. But now a few days or even a week has passed and you haven’t heard anything. You’re probably asking yourself two questions:
How long should I wait, and what should I do in the meantime?

Unfortunately, the answer to the first question is: it depends. You’re not alone in facing this conundrum. In a recent poll, Indeed found that 48% of respondents said that waiting to hear back from employers is “highly frustrating.” ¹

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How long does it take to hear back about a job?

The hiring process can seem to take a long time, but keep in mind that timing for employers is not the same for applicants. While some companies fill certain positions very quickly, others move slowly. Depending on what’s happening within a company, the urgency to fill the role can vary. In fact, during a job search, people report a wide range of experiences:

  • 44% hear from employers within a couple of weeks of applying
  • 37% hear back within one week
  • Only 4% hear back within one day. ²

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What to do while waiting to hear back

Though it can be nerve-wracking, you should remain patient when the hiring process takes longer than you want. Focusing on the second question—“what should I do while I’m waiting?”—will help ease your frustration. Here are some worthwhile activities to consider:

Write a follow-up email if you can

If you have the contact information of the recruiter or hiring manager for the role, reach out to them directly letting them know you’ve applied. Keep your email short and polite. Here’s a simple template you can use:

Follow up email

Subject line: Job inquiry—(insert job title you applied for)

Dear (Recruiter or hiring manager’s name),

My name is (your name) and I am a (description of your current job or professional aspiration). I’m writing to express my interest in the (job title applied for) position at (company name). Based on the job description, my strong background in (your area of expertise) is a match for the skills and qualifications you’re looking for. I am excited to learn more about the opportunity.

For your reference, I’m attaching my cover letter and resume. I have also applied online. I sincerely appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,
(Full name)

Continue applying to other positions

While waiting to hear back from a potential employer, diversifying your job search and applying to other positions will give you the best chance of getting a new job. Even if the one you’re waiting on feels like your “perfect” job, continuing to search will yield new opportunities—9.8 new jobs are added to Indeed every second.³ From a practical perspective, you remain a job seeker until you have an offer letter and contract in hand, so move ahead with new job searches and applications.

With an Indeed account, you can keep track of all the jobs you’ve applied to and the status of each application.

Practice self-care

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, take care of yourself. Not hearing back from employers can be disappointing. Take time to address your very real feelings of disappointment, but don’t dwell on them. However you define self-care—whether it’s spending time with friends and family, working out, volunteering or taking up a new hobby—find ways of making yourself feel good even as you job hunt.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that your efforts will pay off, though not necessarily within the timeline of your choice. Nurture yourself while you’re waiting for your next opportunity so you can keep a positive outlook and put your best foot forward when you do get that callback.

Keep learning:

¹ Indeed confidence curve study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: n=500)
² Indeed confidence curve study conducted by Decipher/FocusVision (Base: n=500)
³ Indeed data (worldwide)

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