How Long to Wait for a Job Offer

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August 22, 2020
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min read

When job hunting, you may have multiple rounds of interviews before a company extends their job offer. You may be wondering, how long after an interview is a job offer made? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Each company has a different hiring process.

In this article we will help you better understand the process and how to know if a job offer is coming or if the company went a different way.

How long does it take to get an offer after a job interview?

After your first round interview at a company, ask the hiring manager, or recruiter how many rounds of interviews you can expect. This will help you know when they are nearing the end of the interview process.

Make sure you send a thank-you note to everyone who interviewed you for the open position. You should send it within one day of your interview.

To check in with them, contact the recruiter or human resources representative. Wait one or two days after your last interview to follow up. Send a note asking what the next steps are.

If the recruiter asks for your references after your last interview, this is a good sign you are getting a job offer. Checking references is usually one of the last steps in the hiring process. When asked for them, always send them in a timely fashion. Candidates should never be the reason an offer is delayed.

If one week goes by without hearing back, check-in with the hiring manager. Ask them if they could get back to you either way. No one wants to be rejected from a job but it's always better than being left in the dark. If you have left one or two messages via phone or email and no one gets back to you, consider moving on to the next job opportunity. After two weeks of silence, you will want to start searching for additional opportunities.

How long does it take a company to write a job offer?

If the hiring manager or recruiter tells you they want to hire you, be patient. There are many variables that come into play when organizations extend a job offer. Depending on the size of the organization, multiple managers may have to sign off on the position's salary and job title. If someone is on vacation or hard to nail down, your job offer could be delayed. Smaller companies could outsource their HR department or only have one or two people that handle offers internally.

Most companies will provide a verbal offer before presenting a formal written one. Written job offers use company resources, so doing a verbal offer first takes the temperature of the job seeker before spending time and money to write up an offer.

Once the candidate accepts the verbal offer, the hiring manager will work internally to get a formal job offer written. The time between a verbal and written offer can seem like a lifetime to someone waiting to start a new career.

Employers should keep in touch with the candidate throughout the hiring process. If the employer gets delayed they should let the person know it's a holdup and will not affect their employment at the company.

Large companies require more checks and balances to extend job offers. Usually, a reference check and background check are required. These can take place after the verbal offer but before a written one goes out.

Certain industries or positions will require a drug test. Don't be surprised if these steps are taken. You can always ask the recruiter for the status or timeline of these tests.

Response time varies for references and background checks. You can help speed things up by informing your references ahead of time that they may be called.

How long does negotiating a job offer take?

Sometimes you get a job offer for a great position but the offer isn't exactly what you were hoping for. This does not mean you have to start your job search over. You can always negotiate your first job offer.

Reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager to discuss the offer. During the interview process be honest about your salary needs upfront. If you gave the team a salary range and the offer falls within it, you will have a hard time negotiating.

Pay attention to the description of the job opening before applying. Some will give a salary range for the position, or the skills needed usually lead to a certain pay grade. Do not apply to a position that is well below where you want to be. Most companies have a budget for each position and it's often hard for them to get more for one person.

Sites like Glassdoor offer average salaries by job title. The state of the economy can affect what a company can offer for an open position. If you have been out of work for a while, consider taking a pay cut to get back into the workforce.

If you are a current job seeker, have patience, because the job search and interview process can be time-consuming. Prepare for each interview and understand that it could take two weeks or longer to get a job offer.

If you are having a hard time, think outside the box. Consider a new industry or a position you didn't think about before. Sometimes taking an interview you weren't excited about can turn into an ideal role.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the typical timelines for a job offer after a reference check has been completed?

After a reference check is completed, employers may take anywhere from a few days to two weeks to extend a job offer. This timeframe can vary based on the company's internal hiring processes, the number of candidates being considered, and the level of the position. It's important to follow up politely if you haven't heard back within two weeks.

Does a reference check guarantee that I will receive a job offer?

While a reference check is a positive sign as it indicates serious interest from the employer, it does not guarantee a job offer. Employers conduct reference checks to validate the information provided by candidates and to ensure they are a good fit for the company culture and role. However, there could be other factors at play that influence the final hiring decision.

How can I politely inquire about the status of my job application after a reference check?

It's appropriate to send a follow-up email to the hiring manager or recruiter about a week after your references have been contacted. Keep your message concise, express your continued interest in the position, and politely ask if there is an updated timeline for the hiring decision. This shows your enthusiasm for the role while respecting the employer's process.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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