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Andrew Arkley|October 18, 2023

How Long Does It Take To Hear Back After An Interview?

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It’s one of the most common queries for candidates during the job search and application process, anxiously wanting to know how long to hear back after an interview.

There are lots of reasons why employers may leave you in the dark about when to expect news on how the interview went, or the next steps.

They may still be interviewing other candidates and want to finish up before making a final decision. Perhaps one of the key-decision makers has just gone on holiday and they can’t get back to you until everyone is ready.

No matter how long you’ll need to wait, there are a few ways to estimate the time it will take. We’ll discuss them in this guide.

Hearing back after different types of interviews

As you might expect, in terms of how long to hear back after interviews, it depends in part on the format.

So first of all, what are the different types of interviews? Some of the most common ones include:

  • Individual interview
  • Phone interview
  • Small group interview
  • Second interview

We’ll cover traditional individual interviews in the next section. For now, let’s look at some other interview examples and why they affect how long it takes to hear back.

Phone interviews

Phone interviews can be as short as 10 minutes. Sometimes they are screening interviews – for example, with an HR representative, to see if you’re the right candidate to take part in a longer and more formal interview soon.

For these interviews, you’re more likely to hear back quickly. It’s possible that you might find out at the end of the call if you’re moving onto the next stage or not.

Don’t worry though, there’s an art to making an impression in this fast format – here’s how to ace a phone interview.

Group interviews

In a small group interview with several candidates, efficiency is the name of the game for employers.

They want to assess many applicants at once to save time, therefore they’re looking to hire someone fast.

Again, this means you’re more likely to hear back quickly. We have some tips to share with you in our guide to group interviews.

Second interviews

Then in terms of who is assessing you and estimating how long after-interview to hear back from them, this is something to think about for a second session in particular.

On the one hand, by making it this far, there shouldn’t be too many candidates left in the process. By the second interview stage, the employer is actively considering you.

At a small company for example, perhaps you’re only up against one other candidate by the second interview stage.

The interviewers could meet shortly afterwards, decide whether you’re the one or not, then give you a call. That call could take place the same day, or the one after, otherwise they might take a week to line everything up and get in touch.

Things tend to get more complicated at larger companies though. Here you are more likely to be dependent on the busy schedule of senior figures at the company.

After a second or third interview, there may be a bunch of internal meetings happening that you’re not aware of.

For example, an interviewer or hiring manager may need to make the case for hiring you to a director or C-level figure. That person will have many competing priorities and may take days, or even weeks, to review everything.

But while the time it takes to hear back can vary depending on the type of interview, without doubt there are some general principles to bear in mind.

When should you hear back?

In the case of a standard individual interview, for the most accurate answer, try to find out before you leave the interview itself. There’s nothing wrong with asking the interviewer when you can expect to hear back and often, they’ll give you a good estimate.

But enough caveats, we hear you say – as a general rule, how long to hear back after interviewing? 

If you haven’t heard back after two weeks, there’s definitely no harm in following up to ask for an update – or if you prefer to wait longer, do it when 15 business days have gone by.

However, bear in mind that it’s also very common for employers to need longer than this to get in touch with you after an interview.

According to research cited by job portal website Indeed, nearly half (44%) of applicants will hear back within a few weeks of applying. However, over a third (37%) get feedback in under a week and a few (4%) within a day.

Other research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers suggests the average response time is as much as 24 business days, but it greatly depends on the sector. It’s very likely that you won’t need to wait as long as that.

Reportedly, apply for a role in government and it could take more than 38 days to get an offer – statistics such as these will skew the average.

Final thoughts: How long does it take to hear back after an interview?

One of the ways to know if an interview went well is if next steps are discussed at the end of it.

In that case, usually the employer will want to keep you in the loop – for example, by saying “we’ll get back to you by Monday” or something similar.

However, if the interviewer is non-committal and vague about when you can expect to hear back, perhaps it didn’t go well.

After a suitable period of time has elapsed without hearing back, here’s how to follow up after an interview.

And if you don’t hear back, no need to take it to heart. There are thousands of open roles to search through – we’ve written a detailed guide on using LinkedIn for job searching

The rise of hybrid working in recent years has also opened up the number of jobs you can apply to, regardless of location. In other words, there are plenty more fish in the sea!

We’re here to help if you need a new CV, cover letter or LinkedIn profile for your applications – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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