Interviewing

What You Should Do When You Don't Get a Response After an Interview

December 16, 2020

Receiving no response after a job interview can be confusing, leaving many candidates wondering whether they should initiate contact or keep waiting. Following-up after an interview reaffirms your enthusiasm for the position and reopens the dialog between you and the interviewer. However, responding in the right way is essential for these positive results. In this article, we will discuss the right way to proceed if you do not get a response after a job interview.

Why don’t employers respond after interviews? 

Usually, you can consider you have received no response after an interview when the interviewer does not contact you within the timeframe specified at your last meeting. You could receive no response after a final interview or be left waiting for a call back after a preliminary interview.

Extended waiting after an interview for a response can occur for several reasons, including:

  • The interviewer is still interviewing candidates.
  • The employer is still collecting feedback from the interviewer.
  • The employer is busy with work matters outside the hiring process.
  • The employer has not made a final decision.
  • Your interview was unsuccessful.

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

How to proceed if you do not get a response after an interview

If you hear nothing back after your interview, taking proactive steps can resolve your confusion and ensure your job search progresses. You should take these steps shortly after the timeframe specified by the interviewer has passed. If the interviewer does not suggest when you may hear from them, wait at least a week before initiating the following steps:

  1. Email the interviewer.
  2. Email the head of the department.
  3. Contact any company connections you have.
  4. Continue searching for a job.
  5. Make peace with the situation.

1. Email the interviewer

Sending a follow-up email is a great way to re-establish contact with the interviewer since they can answer it at any time, unlike a telephone call, so it does not seem intrusive. Following-up in line with the timeframe they gave you also shows you are professional and dedicated to pursuing the position.

Follow-up Email Format
Image description

Follow-up Email Format

  1. Subject line
  2. Open your first paragraph with a thank you
  3. Talk about your interests, goals and experience
  4. Set yourself apart from other candidates
  5. End with your signature and contact information

Your email should be brief, with just one or two paragraphs. It should also be clear and polite. If you have previously corresponded via email, reply to the last message rather than starting a new email thread, so the interviewer can easily refer back to your email history. Proofread your email for errors before sending it to convey professionalism.

If your email goes unanswered, you can send another follow-up email to confirm the employer received the first one. This should be even briefer than your first follow-up email with no more than a single paragraph.

2. Email the head of the department

If you do not receive a response from the interviewer after several attempts, try emailing the head of the department you interviewed for. As this person has a direct interest in filling the position, they may be more willing to respond to your queries. This email should be brief, with just one or two paragraphs, straightforward and polite. It should have a more formal tone than your previous follow-up emails as you may have not met them in your interviewer. 

3. Contact any company connections you have

If you have any friends or family members working for the company you interviewed with, check whether they have any information about the job. Your contacts may know whether the position has been filled, whether their company has a hiring freeze or whether key hiring personnel are on vacation. This information can help you determine whether your interview was unsuccessful or there is a good reason you have not received a response.

4. Continue searching for a job

You should continue searching for a job until you receive an official job offer. While you may feel positive after an interview, there are no guarantees you will get the job. You may discover more great career opportunities while you are waiting for feedback from your interview.

Related: How to Find Your Passion

5. Accept the situation

If you do not receive a response after your job interview, even after sending follow-up emails, try to make peace with the situation and move on. A lack of response usually indicates you did not get the position. However, interviewing for any role provides an opportunity to practice your interviewing technique, ensuring you are more prepared for the next role. 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.

Example responses if you do not hear back after an interview

Here is an example of the response you could send an interviewer after not hearing back after an interview. Use this example as a guide when writing your own email to an employer.

Subject line: Re: Interview on Friday at 2 p.m.
Hi Chris,

I am emailing to follow up on the interview I had on Friday, June 24 for the vacant publicist position. After learning more about the role during the interview, I know it would be an exciting opportunity for me at this time. Could you please keep me updated on the hiring process? I will appreciate any information you can provide. I look forward to hearing back from you shortly.

Thank you,
Lee Alvaro

Read more: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

In most cases, you should receive a response within one or two business days. If you do not, you may like to send an additional brief follow-up email. Here is an example of this further follow-up email.

Subject line: Re: Interview on Friday at 2 p.m.

Hi Chris,

I just wanted to confirm you saw my last email and follow up again to check whether you knew any more about the publicist position I interviewed for. Please let me know either way when you get an opportunity.

Thank you,
Lee Alvaro

If you still receive no response from an interviewer, use this example of an email to a department head as a guide to writing your own.

Subject line: Request for update on June 24 interview for publicist role

Dear Mr. Hannah

My name is Lee Alvaro and I interviewed for the publicist role in your department on June 24. I emailed Chris Ferguson last week for an update, as I was told I should hear back in two weeks, but have not received a response. Can you please let me know whether the position has been filled and share any feedback about my interview? I look forward to hearing any updates from you when you have time available.

Thank you for your consideration,
Lee Alvaro

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