How Long After an Interview Should I Wait to Follow Up?

Updated 5 May 2023

Sending a follow up email after an interview can demonstrate enthusiasm for the role, which may be impressive to an employer and substantially increase your chance of success. There are many reasons why employers may take longer to contact you, so staying patient is important. Understanding how long you should wait to follow up after an interview can help you stay calm and remain positive during the recruitment process. In this article, we discuss how long it may take an employer to follow up, explore the reasons an employer may face delays, and add tips on how to follow up with the hiring manager.

Related: 10 Signs an Interview Went Well (With Interview Tips)

How long after an interview should I wait to follow up?

Learning the answer to 'How long after an interview should I wait to follow up?' is integral to remaining positive during an application process. Employers vary in terms of how long they take to contact candidates, with some doing so the same day to a week or two later. This gives them enough time to assess your qualities and qualifications and compare you to other candidates. It's best to give employers at least five days before following up on your application and interview.

Employers may also tell you that if you don't hear back within a certain time frame that your application has been unsuccessful. Again, this varies from employer to employer, but it's best to give them a few days before making an assumption.

Related: How to Succeed in an Informal Interview (With Steps)

Reasons an employer may delay their decision process

Employers delay their decision process for a number of reasons that may be unrelated to your personal application. A recruitment process is relatively complex with multiple professionals and departments involved, meaning that there is a lot of opportunity for delay in process. An employer may also pre-empt a delay during the interview, so consider reflecting on whether they previously mentioned any additional stages they go through before making their decision. Here are some reasons why an employer may delay their decision making:

Annual leave

Occasionally, recruitment processes overlap with the hiring manager's planned or unplanned leave. In either scenario, you may be unlikely to receive a response during this period. That leave could be two or three days in length or a number of weeks. If a candidate feels the wait for a response to their application is taking a lengthy period, they can contact the company and politely enquire if any leave or other issues may be delaying the process.

Related: What Does a Hiring Manager Do? (Key Duties and Skills)

More candidates to interview

A second reason for post-interview delays is the high number of candidates to process. Other candidates may fit their interviews around their full-time job, so maybe unavailable for a number of days or weeks, meaning there are delays to the overall process. Although there may be three or four interview stages before they select their desired candidate, businesses do not always communicate with any candidates until they make their final decision.

The company may sometimes email with the outcome of the interview process and invite you to keep your details on their files. It can be helpful for your career to enquire if the business offers any casual, freelance or seasonal jobs as an alternative.

The hiring campaign has halted

Hiring managers, talent acquisition and human resources (HR) representatives occasionally reconsider the salary and benefits on offer depending on the company's financial climate. If the job advertisement is out of date, employers may require HR professionals to reorganise the hiring campaign. This may also mean that candidates may reconsider their application as the salary or new benefits may not align with their ideals. A business may also stop a hiring campaign because it has decided to conduct an internal recruitment process.

Tips for following up after an interview

If you do decide to follow up after an interview, you may wish to use the following tips to ensure that you approach in a professional way:

See if any previous correspondence has stated when you can expect a response

Before you contact the hiring manager or company, consider revisiting previous emails or correspondence. Look for any comments that indicate either the proposed timeframe for the hiring process or if the business has said it cannot advise unsuccessful candidates. You may also review the job description for information such as, 'we will contact successful candidates via email at least two weeks from the interview'.

Send an email to the recruiter or hiring manager

If you feel particularly stressed about waiting for longer times, you may benefit from asking for an informal follow-up or an explanation for the delay. This may prompt the hiring manager and encourage them to move forward quickly and offer you a final decision. This may also be an opportunity to reiterate your enthusiasm or qualities that make you good for the job.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples for After the Interview

Try and understand the other party's timeline and possible restrictions

When waiting for an update after your interview, it's important to remember that companies have responsibilities outside of the recruitment process and may have important projects running simultaneously. This means that the recruitment process may not be a priority and they may take more time to get back to you. Try to stay calm and understanding of their responsibilities, as this can help you remain positive about the overall process.

Carry on with your job search

It can be useful for your successful job search not to stop your activity once you have applied for a role. Keep looking for job descriptions that you believe may suit you and frame a new application where appropriate. Not all employers provide feedback on applications but do feel free to ask for this as insights can be useful and can lead to new phrasing or reframing of experience in your resume. If you have been searching for a new role for a while, consider allocating a portion of your week to voluntary work or ask about internships and casual employment.

Related: How Many Interviews Is Too Many? Plus Interview Tips

Ask for feedback

Even if a business has indicated it does not contact applicants who were unsuccessful for a role, you can still consider asking the hiring manager or recruiter what the successful applicant had in terms of experience and qualities that led to their success. You are not asking for private information but for elements the business considers valuable and important to operations. This information may aid your content for future applications with the business and improve your search skills.

Related: How to Ask for Feedback After an Interview (With Examples)

Follow up email after an interview example

Below is an example email that highlights how to ask for an update regarding the progress of an application or expected time frame. Consider following this example when compiling your follow-up letter or email:

Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for taking the time to conduct my interview last Tuesday. I especially enjoyed the friendly atmosphere that ensured I was comfortable and had ample opportunity to discuss my interest in the role.

I am enquiring as to any update on the progress of my application. If there is no update at this time, may I please ask about the planned time frame?

Again, thank you for your time and I wish you the best of luck during the selection process.

I hope to hear from you soon.


Sarah Paul

Related: How to Follow Up on a Job Application (With Examples)

Frequently asked questions

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about following up after an interview:

What is the proper etiquette for sending a follow-up email after an interview?

Proper etiquette is important when approaching your follow up process. Here is a list of steps you can follow to ensure you remain polite and positive during your follow or letter:

  • remain polite

  • mention any positives you took from the interview

  • talk about how the role excites you or inspires you in any way

  • excuse the delay and reassure the recruiter that you are positive nonetheless

Are there any benefits to follow-up interviews?

Follow-up interviews offer you a good opportunity to expand on any examples of your competencies or work experience that you weren't able to talk about in your initial interview. Follow-up interviews can also allow you to ask more questions about the job, salary and company culture. Second interviews are also a good time to reiterate how enthusiastic you are about the role and why you think you're the best candidate. This may improve your chances of receiving an offer quickly.

What is the likely process following on from an interview?

If you are successful, an employer may invite you to a final stage job interview with those in senior positions at the business. This might be a more informal interview based on getting to know the employer. Alternatively, the employer may make an offer immediately after an interview that states the proposed salary prior to any negotiation and a start date. If you are unsuccessful, you could receive feedback based on the answers given in the interview. This is a good chance to improve for your next job application.

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