You've found a company with a job opening you're excited about and have already gone through several job interviews with various team members. You feel pretty good about how you did; now you're just waiting for the final word to hear about whether you got a job offer — and waiting is easier said than done.
This time waiting to hear back after an interview can be anxiety-inducing and stressful — you're in a sort of limbo, so close to getting a job, but not wanting to get ahead of yourself before you have a formal job offer. You want to know if you can stop looking around or if you should keep putting yourself out there. Stay positive.
So how long after the final interview until you receive an offer? There's no hard and fast rule on an interview timeline for making a hiring decision. In this guide, we'll break down how long the process can take and what to look out for.
If you've already had your final job interview and feel like you've jumped through all the hoops and you're just waiting for answers, that anticipation can be intense. What counts as too long to hear back after an interview? What's a "normal" timeframe in which candidates typically hear back from the employer? And why do hiring managers seem to keep job seekers in suspense?
We wish there were a magic formula for how long after an interview it takes to hear back and get an official job offer, but the process length depends on various factors, from the company size to the position type to internal hiring practices. More senior roles and larger organizations with complex human resources departments often have more bureaucracy to deal with and therefore have a longer timeline before they can extend a job offer to a candidate.
The whole cycle of applying, phone interview and screenings, several rounds of virtual or in-person interviews, getting a job offer, and accepting a position can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. In some cases, you could hear back as early as a few days or one-to-two weeks if the company is ready to go and looking to onboard a candidate quickly. Other times, the HR department may need to wrap up job interviews with other candidates.
Generally speaking, it's best to ask the company in your final interview about an average response time or when you can expect to hear back after an interview about their final decision. If you ask how long candidates should expect to wait for a response and they give you a concrete timeline (e.g., end of week, two weeks, etc.), add a buffer after that before following up, as people get busy.
Add the contact information of each person you interviewed with to Teal's Contacts Tracker. You can enter a follow-up date to ensure you send an email within an appropriate time frame.
If you have other interviews for open positions during this waiting period, make sure to keep track of each employer and related information in your tracker. It's tempting to put all of your job search eggs in one basket, but until you have an actual job offer in hand, it's best practice to keep actively applying and interviewing. True, you want to get a job offer, but you also want to be realistic about your expectations along the way.
When you're in the final stages of a job interview, nothing seems more nerve-wracking than finding out whether or not you'll have a new job soon.
While the average job search takes between 5-6 months, the average length of the hiring process in the U.S. is about 23-38 days. In other words, on average, it's not unrealistic to go from first interview to job offer in one month once you're moving forward in the interview process. The length of each job interview can also vary.
A December 2019 “Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report” by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that the average time it took between an interview to an offer was 23.5 days—just under a month. A general rule of thumb: You should hear back after an interview sooner rather than later.
If you're just hearing back about a first-round interview (here's more on how to accept that interview), chances are you still have several weeks of waiting ahead before you hear back—which means you also have ample time to prepare answers to behavioral and situational interview questions so you can put your best foot forward. You can start practicing answers to common interview questions and do more research on the company.
While three weeks or so is the average time it may take between an interview and an offer, it can depend on your location and sector.
For example, Glassdoor found that Washington D.C., took about nine days longer than the national average (33.2 days). The hypothesis is that many federal workers may have additional screenings and stricter requirements. The city with the shortest hiring process was Kansas City, Missouri at just 16.9 days.
Your sector also makes a big impact when it comes to timelines. Glassdoor found that the longest interview process was in the government sector at 53.8 days, whereas the nonprofit sector had an average timeline of 25.2 days. Restaurants and bars had a much faster timeline of just 10.2 days—perhaps a sign that those industries are often eager to hire immediately.
Aside from location and industry, your job title may also impact interview and hiring timelines. For example, Glassdoor found that the average interview process took 60.3 days for professors, while a communications specialist took 42.5 days and a waiter only 8 days.
The Jobvite 2021 Recruitment Nation Report offers more insight into general timelines regarding how long it takes to get an offer after an interview:
As you can see, how long the hiring process can take varies quite a bit by location, industry, and role, so there's no cookie-cutter answer to how long after a final-round interview until a formal job offer comes your way. But using these guidelines, you can get an idea.
You can keep track of your own interview timelines by tracking the stages of the interview process and using the "Notes" feature for each of your bookmarked jobs in Teal's Job Tracker. Record the day of your final job interviews, as well as the date of any offers you receive. Being able to see your own application timeline can help you with any future job searches.
When you have a few interviews under your belt, waiting can be really hard to do—especially if you're not sure when you can expect to hear if the hiring manager has made a decision. In the meantime, it's a good practice to send a thank you note or email to the person/people you interviewed with.
Do this within a day or so of your last interview. Be sure to bring up a few things that came up in your conversation and reiterate how excited you are about the role. You might not hear back right away, as the company may be interested in other candidates or taking their time to review information or conduct reference checks.
After about a week, if you haven't heard anything back after an interview, feel free to follow up with the company, recruiter, or hiring manager to see about the next steps moving forward.
The important thing to remember, though, is that you do follow up. This shows professionalism and interest and keeps you top of mind. Within Teal's Job Tracker are communication templates to help you prepare that perfect follow-up email.
If it's going on two weeks with no word, you may not want to wait longer on the HR department to get back to you; instead, continue to search for other opportunities so as not to put all your job search energy into one company.
As part of the waiting game, you can assess whether you felt the interview went well. Consider the following:
On the other hand, there are some telltale signs that an interview didn't go that well:
It's not the end of the world if an interview doesn't go as well as you hoped. This might just mean that you need to spend some more time preparing and practicing for the next interview.
Within Teal’s Job Tracker are tips and resources to help you practice interviewing.
If you felt that the interview went well and want to follow up with the person making the hiring decision, here are some questions to ask as part of the follow-up:
This can help you move forward, take action, and (hopefully) get answers from the employer about where the process stands.
Interviewing can be a taxing and draining process. You put yourself out there again and again and face rejection or worse—nothing at all. The total hiring process can take weeks, so it pays to be patient. Following up persistently but respectfully (and in a way that doesn't overwhelm the hiring manager, assuming they're speaking to multiple candidates!) is key, even if it's tough to wait it out.
Again, until you have an offer in hand, it's good practice to continue looking for other positions and seeing who else is hiring. You can utilize Teal's Job Tracker to keep tabs on other job interview prospects in the meantime—though we hope that next job offer is right around the corner and that you hear back sooner rather than later!