You researched the company you wanted to work for ahead of time. You were dressed in your snazziest interview outfit and showed up promptly and prepared. You answered every question brilliantly — even the strange job interview questions like, "If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?" (Thanks, Apple.) There’s absolutely no doubt in your mind that you nailed that job interview. So why haven’t you heard anything back?
Here are five reasons why employers don’t respond after a job interview — and what, if anything, you can do about it.
1. They’re just not interested
The reason: Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Even though you thought you rocked the job interview, someone else may have won over the hiring manager’s heart.
Instead of contacting you with an "it's not you, it's me" email, the interviewer opted to just not say anything at all.Instead of contacting you with an "it's not you, it's me" email, the interviewer opted to just not say anything at all.
The fix: If another candidate has been chosen for the job, there’s really not a lot that you can do. "You can follow up with an email to express your continued interest in the company," says Alexandra Levit, a workplace expert and CEO of Inspiration at Work. "Reiterate your enthusiasm for working at the organization and express that you hope to keep in touch in the future." This showcases that you can lose graciously and will help keep your application top-of-mind for future openings.
2. They’re afraid of legal issues
3. They’re still interviewing/negotiating
The reason: Maybe you were the third person the company interviewed — out of a possible 20+ candidates. Or maybe they’ve decided on another candidate and are in the middle of deep negotiations with that person.
The fix: It’s perfectly acceptable to follow up within two weeks after your interview to find out the status of the hiring process. Levit suggests that the best form of communication is via email, not a direct phone call. If you don’t hear back after your first email, you can email again — a maximum of three times in a span of two months. "If you still haven't heard from them after that, move on to another opportunity," says Levit.
4. The position has been eliminated or put on hold
The reason: After you went in for your job interview, the company might have — unbeknownst to you — experienced sweeping budget cuts that meant they needed to eliminate positions. The hiring process may have been frozen as a result. In another scenario, perhaps the company is in the midst of reconfiguring the role based on unforeseen circumstances (a manager quit, or the company decided to explore a new avenue and is still hammering out the details).
In these situations, it’s really a wait-and-see game. While you might want to ride out the process to see if anything pans out or the position you applied for reopens, it might be better to continue on with your job search. If the company does contact you again regarding employment, you can decide whether you want to reapply, or perhaps seek more stable employment elsewhere.In these situations, it’s really a wait-and-see game.
Regardless, it's important not to spend too much time and energy wracking your brain about all of the possible extenuating circumstances that might have resulted in the company's radio silence. Don't drive yourself crazy over the what ifs — instead, give yourself a pep talk and get back on the horse.
5. They’re just rude
The reason: Jobs are a precious commodity and unfortunately job seekers are in surplus. The company may have had a cattle call of job applicants come in for interviews, and now it doesn’t have the time or inclination to respond back to each and every person individually.
The fix: You may be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but can you ever really teach someone good manners? "Unfortunately, [the practice of not contacting a candidate if they aren't chosen for the position] is the norm," says Levit.
During the actual interview, you can ask when the hiring manager plans to make a decision. A conscientious company and a professional hiring manager will connect with job candidates once a decision has been made, even if it’s to politely thank them for their time and let them know that another candidate has been chosen. "If an organization is together enough to proactively update you on your status and turn you down directly but kindly, keep them on your radar," Levit suggests. "This is a culture that's probably pretty desirable."
There are many reasons why you may not hear back from a potential employer after a job interview — and many have nothing to do with you. While it can be hard to develop a thick skin — especially when you really want the job you’ve applied for — learning how to not take the process personally is a good way to save your sanity. Wait for a new position that aligns with your career goals and gives you that much-coveted work-life balance, too.