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  • Writer's pictureExpert Resume Pros

How Long Should You Wait After a Job Interview Before Contacting the Employer?

You landed the interview!


Using a paid CV building service to draft your resume paid off and you got a chance to sit in front of a human to put your best foot forward. You feel it went well. You walked out of the interview room feeling confident.


Now, you’re just waiting…


And waiting…


It can almost feel like too much to bear, especially if you haven’t heard anything back after a few days for a position that you really want. So, the question starts to arise in your mind:


Should I contact the employer to ask how the interview went? And if I do, how long should I wait before getting in touch?


Read on to discover the answers.


man and woman sitting at a desk doing a job interview with the words "How long should you wait after a job interview to follow up?"

Should You Even Consider Contacting an Employer After an Interview?

Time is always a factor in the recruiting process. According to HR Review, the average company spends 40 days looking for a suitable candidate for a role – spending $22,814 in the process – which is a substantial time commitment in anybody’s books.


That knowledge could make you feel wary about contacting an employer after an interview.

After all, doing so creates another burden on the employer’s already limited time, especially if the role attracts a lot of candidates. There’s a balance to strike here – you want to know what’s happening but you can’t be so determined to find out that you irritate the employer to the point where they disregard your application.


So, should you contact them?


Yes!


As Business News Daily highlights, it’s both alright and often expected, that a candidate will get in touch with an employer following an interview. Many employers actually prefer that you get in touch because it demonstrates initiative – along with a desire to land the role – and shows you’re appreciative of the opportunity to interview.


The rub comes from how you get in touch.


Bombarding an employer with calls and emails for days after your interview is a surefire way to land in the “pass” category. An employer wants to hear from you. But they don’t want to hear so much that you drown out the important work they need to do with other candidates.


Then, there’s the method you use to get in touch.


Many who contact employers after an interview are conditioned to give them a call to say thank you. That’s fine as long as the employer is happy to take phone calls, but can work against you if the employer specifies a preferred contact medium. If they say, “We prefer email communication,” a phone call isn’t just going against that request. It actively shows that you don’t listen to instructions, which could be a mark against you even if you nailed the interview process.


So, to sum up:


It’s fine – and even a good idea – to contact an employer after an interview. But when you do, keep in mind the method of communication they prefer and how enthusiastic you are when following up.


image of letter in envelope, phone, calendar, and clock with the words "follow up after submitting a resume"

How Long Do You Have to Wait?

This is where it gets a little more complicated for a simple reason:


There’s no definitive answer to this question.


Instead, think of the time you send your messages – or make your calls – in terms of touchpoints with the employer that are designed to keep you in mind without being overbearing.


The First 24 Hours

Surely sending a message asking how the interview went within 24 hours is a little too much, right?


Indeed it is, but this period isn’t too early to send a thank-you email for the opportunity. Assuming the employer is happy to accept emails, consider shooting across a short message to say thanks while saying you’re looking forward to the employer’s feedback. You’re showing a desire for the role without immediately grilling the employer about the interview with this method.


Note that you could skip this step entirely if saying thank you for an interview feels uncomfortable.


The First Week

Beyond an initial thank-you message, your job within the first five to seven days after the interview is to wait for the employer to get in touch. That’s according to Indeed, which recommends waiting for five business days after an initial interview to make a call or send a message asking how it went. That’s an opinion shared by The Muse, with both suggesting that you could add a two-day buffer – bringing your waiting time to seven days – if you know the business had a lot of applications for the role.


So, why wait this long?


The average role attracts 188 applications, with 22% of those applications achieving an interview. That means your potential employer may have to interview about 40 candidates for a role, and you’re unlikely to be the last of them. As a result, you should wait a while before sending a message requesting feedback to give the employer time to work through their backlog and actually decide who they may want to call back.


employer reviewing a resume with the words "Follow-up after job interview"

The Second Week

Ideally, you’ll have already gotten in touch with an employer by the time you hit the two-week mark after your interview.


Except in one instance:


When you’ve had a follow-up interview.


Many employers now use a multi-stage interviewing process to whittle away at their list of candidates, with second and third interviews generally requiring you to wait a little longer before you get in touch. Business News Daily recommends waiting between seven and 10 days for any subsequent interviews after your first. Again, that gives employers a chance to consider candidates carefully. Plus, getting to these later stages in an interview process guarantees you’re on the company’s radar, so they’re more likely to get in touch before you do if you wait a while longer.


Don’t Allow Enthusiasm to be Your Job-Hunting Enemy

Appreciation and enthusiasm for an opportunity to interview are great, as is expressing both to an employer. Keep it controlled, starting with a thank-you within 24 hours before waiting between 5 and 10 days before requesting feedback. Get too pushy with your messages and it won’t matter that you used a cover letter and resume writing professional. Colorado employers will take your “pushiness” as a sign that you’re overbearing – and potentially unable to follow instructions or interview etiquette – resulting in you losing a job that you had in your grasp.

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