What does it mean if you haven’t heard back from that job interview?

Anyone who has ever done a job interview will recognise that waiting feeling

Wed, July 2nd, 10:39


If you don’t hear anything for a week or two, your mind can take you to strange places. Some people convince themselves that ‘no news is good news’ and that everything will be fine, while others become obsessed with the lack of information – they spend their days staring at their phone and scrambling for it at every notification.

The longer it goes on, the harder it is to guess the outcome. In truth, ‘no news’ could mean any number of things and there is certainly no hard and fast rule. However, there are a few common situations that leave candidates in the dark over interview success.

The hiring manager is simply too busy

The most likely factor is that the hiring manager has too much to do and hasn’t had the time to make a decision on your role. It may also be the case, especially in smaller startup companies, that recruitment isn’t a priority. That can be tough to hear. Your career is going to be the most important factor for you, but hiring managers often have multiple projects running at once and can take time to get to yours.

They’re not ready to say no

Hiring decisions are vital to the success of every business. They may like you, but are afraid to commit to a decision. Many hiring managers prefer to retain strong candidates as possible hires while they continue to look at other options. If they say no to you, they are gambling on the next candidate being a better fit, but if they say nothing they still have the option of hiring you.

You didn’t get the job

Of course, the other option is that you didn’t get it and they haven’t told you or they won’t tell you. Unfortunately, it does happen that some organisations don’t have the time or the inclination to inform every unsuccessful candidate.

How do you deal with the wait?

The best thing to do is to be proactive. Try to get a timeframe at the end of the interview, let that time run out before worrying about the lack of news. If you still haven’t heard anything, make contact with the hiring manager or recruiter and politely ask for an update. They will let you know what they can and could save you a lot of heartache if you’ve been waiting a while.

Most importantly, don’t let the wait interfere with your current role. Many people’s minds wander while they wait for interview feedback; they start to picture themselves working in the new role, or they obsess over every detail of the interview and start to doubt their ability. Both of those scenarios need to be avoided at all costs.

The news that you’ve got that new job may be due any minute, but if it isn’t you need to make sure that you continue to succeed in your current role. That’s far more important than all that waiting.

Looking for that perfect role? Find it on our Jobs Board.

Eoin Keenan

The Irish Times