Waiting to Hear Back after Applying for a Job

On average, it takes hiring managers one to two weeks to reach out to potential hires after receiving an application. Employers receive an onslaught of applications after publishing a job post. Depending on the position and location, they could have hundreds or thousands of resumes to sift through, even with Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).

In some cases, hiring managers will reach out much sooner when the position in question is pivotal to business operations (but isn’t too senior). When that happens, hiring managers tend to work fast to find suitable candidates and move the hiring process forward. Applying early in the process can help you get noticed.

On the other hand, sometimes it can take a lot longer than two weeks to hear back from a job application. It’s not uncommon for companies to wait a month before responding to an applicant, if they do respond. Things can change internally during the job search. The parameters of the hiring process could evolve and companies can decide to go with an inside promotion or change what they’re looking for halfway through the search. The timing could be an issue as well. For example, the organization could be short-staffed due to vacations, or maybe they’re setting a new budget and have to wait until things go through before proceeding.

Generally, it’s best to wait at least two weeks to hear back from a job before considering the possibility that you didn’t get the job. There’s still a chance that employers could reach out after the two-week point, and this is why it’s so important to reach out or follow up after two weeks. Another vital point to remember is that the countdown should start after the posting’s closing date, which you may not even see in the posting. The closing date is the last day the employer will accept applications. Some hiring managers won’t even start looking for suitable candidates until after that closing day.

Here are some proactive things you can do to manage the process timeline:

• Always send your resume in Word format unless a posting states that PDFs are ok. Many Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) programs see PDFs as photos and can’t parse/”read” the information in them.

• Make sure you change the job title on your resume to the job title you’re applying for.

• Double check your skills against what the employer is looking for in the job posting and tweak accordingly to ensure you rank as high as possible.

• For job opportunities that really resonate with you, include a cover letter to a specific person in the company (no generic cover letters!). LinkedIn is a great resource tool for this.


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