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How Long to Hear Back After Applying for a Job?

One of the most anxious waits we ever have to put up with is waiting to hear back from a job application. But why does it sometimes take so long?

And how long will it take before you hear back after applying for a job?

Another question I am often asked is… is there anything you can do to speed up the process?

I will look at that a little later; let’s first tackle the all-important question of How Long to Hear Back After Applying for a Job and why.

how long to hear back after applying for a job

Why Does It Take So Long?

There are quite a few reasons, and a wait is to be expected. You will have applied to one of two people, the Manager, who is responsible for hiring the member of staff, or the Human Resources/Personnel Department.

The Hiring Manager

They will have a number of responsibilities other than just interviewing potential staff and will be responsible for a number of people, as well as running a department and all that entails. The meetings, reports, and management alone will take up time.

So while it will be on their agenda, the recruitment might not be top of their list. Even though it will probably be top of yours, for them, it will be just another job they have to do.

The Personnel Recruiter

They will have none of those responsibilities. Their role is solely to select and interview candidates. They will have to sift through all the applicants, probably at least once, which will take a few days. And they may have to confer with a department head. But usually, the process will be quicker.

how long to hear back after applying for job

You Have Applied, Now What?

You’ve found a great looking job and sent in your CV, and now you are nervously waiting for a contact to invite you in. What do you do now? Well, one thing you don’t do is stop looking for a job.

Don’t just presume that they will want to see you. Keep looking and sending in your details to companies. If you wait a few weeks doing nothing only to be told that they don’t want to interview you, you will have wasted precious time.

Don’t make assumptions

Another reason to keep up the job search is that the company may have a change of heart. They might put the interviewing process on hold for a while. They might withdraw the position or decide to recruit internally. There are a number of unknowns involved. You shouldn’t just rely on one application.

When do you stop your search?

Simply put, when you have signed an employment contract with someone. That is when you stop looking.

How Long to Hear Back After Applying for a Job?

Well, the answer to that is not a fixed period, primarily because of some of the reasons I have already mentioned. You can, on average, expect to wait about two weeks. Why?

All you have done is sent in a CV that needs to be evaluated. Surely it shouldn’t take a long time, but you need to consider…

  • How many other CVs do you think they received?
  • As I said, maybe HR will have to refer them to the department doing the recruiting.
  • How busy are they internally?
  • If it is a large company, it could take longer.
  • If the job is not a high priority, that could delay the process.

There is an endless number of reasons which can delay things. However, if you are waiting over three weeks, then you can assume that they are not going to get in touch. If I’m wrong, it will be all the more exciting if they do get back to you.

The Answer?

There probably isn’t one. It can depend on so many factors. Some of which I have mentioned. Most companies will eventually make contact, even if it is to say your application has been unsuccessful this time.

how long to hear back after applying for jobs

Should You Follow-Up Your Application?

It is acceptable to try one follow-up. You could catch them at a good moment while they are deliberating. Your call could swing it your way because of your obvious enthusiasm.

But there are some considerations to a follow-up call:

  • Don’t make it too early after sending in your CV.
  • Have a prepared dialogue if you get through to the correct person, and sound professional.
  • Only follow-up once, otherwise they could view you as a bit of a nuisance.

What should the dialogue be?

Simply put, you are just enquiring as to whether they have received your CV. You don’t need to ask anything else. If they say, they expect so, just leave it at that. It means they have got a drawer full. No questions, no inquiries about the number of applicants. No references to how long it will take them. Thank them for their time and goodbye.

When should you follow up?

Personally, I would only make that follow-up call if you think that you are eminently suitable for the role as described. If your qualifications and experience match the position, then a little jog of their memory won’t hurt.

Speeding Up The Process

I mentioned earlier it might be possible to speed things up a little. You might think there isn’t very much that you can do to make the process go along a bit quicker. That might be true, but there is something that could make a difference. Let me ask you a question. What is the purpose of your resume?

It basically only has one purpose, to get you invited to an interview. At the interview, it might be used as a reference point for discussion. But when you get into the interview, it is down to you. The CV must be designed to get you in.

How Can You Make it Look Good?

Of course, ‘looking good’ is only part of it; presentation is important. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes, headings are clear, and try to make it look attractive. This way, when it arrives on the interviewers’ desk, they are immediately drawn towards it.

how long to hear back after applying for the jobs

Fine Tuning

That doesn’t mean exaggerating or inventing things to suit the position. You will almost certainly be caught out if you do, and that will be that.

What I mean is to look closely at the job description you have and see what parts of your CV are most relevant, those you can emphasize. If they see that you fit what the company is looking for, then you will go into the ‘consideration’ pile straight away. But as I say, no exaggerations, just an emphasis on experience you have that fits.

What Are The Employers Looking For?

Firstly they are looking for people with the relevant experience to do the job. Can you come in and perform? Secondly, the department will be thinking about how quickly will it take them to ‘get you up to speed’? The more experience you have and can demonstrate, the shorter the time will be.

Fine Tuning your CV to answer those questions in a positive way will do you no harm at all. If they see the relevant experience, that will satisfy both answers.

Your CV Is Your First Line Of Approach

There are two important issues here. Your CV is the first. It is how they will judge you initially, so make it right and make it relevant. Having a CV that works for you is the single most important thing you can do to get yourself noticed. If they get 30 applications and therefore 30 CVs, how are you going to make yours stand out?

Not only will this give you an advantage, but it is also likely to reduce the waiting time before you hear back. The second thing is when you have your interview, you will need to look and be professional. So, make sure you are prepared, whatever the weather, with this Lilyxin Premium Automatic Compact Umbrella Windproof. And be sure to look the part with this Tassia Luxury Leather Executive Case Attache Briefcase.

If you are asked to sign something, a nice pen will give you a professional image; I personally recommend the quality yet affordable Parker IM Fountain Pen.

Not Feeling Quite Confident Enough?

If you lack confidence, you will no doubt bring that across in your interview. For that, we recommend reading up on The Self Confidence Workbook, Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt, How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions, and my favorite Unstoppable Self Confidence available online in 2021.

If that’s not enough, then look take a look at The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance, or the INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!: How to Ace the Interview, Sell Yourself & Get Your Dream Job, as well as the You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, and Self-Confidence Strategies for Women to really blow them away.

It never hurts to be extra prepared, try The STAR Interview: How to Tell a Great Story, Nail the Interview and Land Your Dream Job, or The STAR Method Explained: Proven Technique to Succeed at Interview, and you can practice using the STAR METHOD INTERVIEW: Interview Journal: Notebook designed for job seekers to use as a guide for interview prep and as a tool for interview questions and answers during interviews to ace that interview.

Final Thoughts

Waiting for that response is an anxious time, especially if you really like the look of the job. But get yourself organized and make sure that your application and your CV stand out. That might just shorten the wait a bit. However, be patient and feel confident in the fact that you have done all you can at this stage.

But, it’s always good to think ahead. So prepare for your interview in the meantime and make sure you practice your answers. And, of course, always ensure that you have dressed appropriately and stay professional at all times.

All the very best with your future Applications!

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About Carmen Smith

Carmen grew up in San Diago but now lives in Boston. She loves traveling, experiencing other cultures, and basically exploring the world, be country at a time.

Her other passion is helping people find the perfect career. We spend 33% of our working lives at work, so it's ridiculous that many people do jobs that they do not enjoy. Carmen wants to change this and thinks that anyone who isn't happy in their employment should keep looking until they find something that they really enjoy. 

She firmly believes that "Everyone's perfect job is out there; it's just a case of continually looking until you find it."

Carmen lives with her husband Johnny, a keen birder who also loves to travel. He finds birds while Carmen makes plans for where they will be eating next...

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