For most people, the hiring process (and pretty much every aspect of interviewing for a job) triggers what I like to call the post interview temporary OCD blues. Although you want the decision process to move quickly, the time after your interview can feel endless. And brain-twistingly maddening!
I’m sure many of you can recognize the truth in this all too familiar-feeling scene:
“They haven’t called yet.”
“They still haven’t called yet.”
It’s only been five minutes since you last told me that.
“But I interviewed THREE whole hours ago. Why aren’t they calling me?”
This goes on for most of the next two or three weeks, in which time you’ve called or sent notes at least 6 times (please don’t), until you finally get the call for the second interview. Aaaaaaaaah! You feel your old self returning.
And then it starts all over again …
Oh sure … this job interview went well too, but right after the interview you feel the signs of temporary OCD returning. The obsessive thoughts and the compulsive need to contact them and make them act NOW! NOW. NOW!!!
“I know they liked me. They seemed to like me. Oh dear god … why didn’t they like me!”
I’m sure they did.
“Was that the phone?”
No. The dog sneezed.
“Why won’t they call me? Those self-absorbed, insensitive creeps. Don’t they know I’m waiting???? I hate all of them.”
It’s only been three days and they’re interviewing other people.
“It’s a stupid job anyway. If they don’t call by tomorrow, I don’t even want it any more.”
Makes total sense. I understand.
“That’s it. I’m done with the idiots.”
Good plan. Why be open to a job you want?
Just then the phone rings. You get the job. Wuhooo! You’re thrilled because truth be told they all seemed really nice and the job is everything you ever wanted. Ah. Relief at last.
Or so I hope in your case. But, if not, please don’t give up hope. It only takes one “yes!” And a lot of patience. 🙂
So what takes them so long to call after your interview?
Although it all goes on behind the scenes as far as a job seeker is concerned, there are many good reasons why you don’t hear back right away after your job interview. Reasons that may have nothing to do with you. In fact, sometimes it can take weeks to hear anything — even if they really like you.
What might be going on that causes the delay? This post can help you understand. At the very least, maybe the silence won’t seem so personal. And you can put your energy to use looking for another opportunity. Two offers are even better than one!
Why do folks go crazy looney-tunes nuts after an interview?
So what happened to you? Why did obsessive-compulsive behavior take hold of an otherwise lovely person’s body and brain?
Of course, we know it’s an awful, stressful process where you have absolutely no control over what they do or how soon they do it. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing back in as little as a day and waiting as long as four loooong months for jobs where I was the top candidate.
There is no absolute rule or standard when it comes to the job interview hiring process. I’m sorry. I wish there were. And I know it sucks. But seriously … driving yourself crazy by trying to second-guess what you can’t possibly know about is not worth it.
Sometimes emergencies happen. Or huge rush projects. Maybe people get sick. Or there are behind-the-scenes negotiations or politics. And none of it is about you.
The best thing you can do is give the very best job interview you can and then just wait for them to do what they need. Seriously.
Sure, a pleasant note or two and an occasional polite call can help move things along — sometimes. But I suggest you do these things sparingly and without getting tied to an actual result. At least not one on YOUR time schedule. They will move at their pace no matter what we do.
So what can you do in the meantime?
More posts to help
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[Post updated in 2020]
About the author…
Ronnie Ann, founder of Work To the Wise and Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development, as well as her many adventures as a serial job seeker.