The most challenging period of the job search is probably the waiting game, especially when a week has passed, and you haven’t heard anything yet.
Like everyone else who has been in your shoes, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions, “how long should I wait?” or “how long does it take for an employer to contact me after applying?”
Let’s hear the answers directly from experts:
This depends on a lot of factors. But as a general rule, most companies send two types of messages within the first two weeks of a candidate applying for a position.
The first type of message is usually an automated note within the first 48 hours
This message just confirms that they’ve received the candidate’s application and they will be in touch if the candidate is qualified.
If the applicant’s resume doesn’t contain the right keywords, titles, or years of experience, the employer will likely automatically disqualify them using tools like applicant tracking systems.
If the resume meets the minimum criteria, most employers send a second email within 14 days of the application
This serves as an invitation for the candidate to start their interviewing process. If a candidate hasn’t received an invitation to start the interviewing process within the first two weeks, there’s a good chance that either their resume was disqualified, or the employer has already found another candidate.
More importantly, I think it’s helpful for candidates to realize that very few applications receive any meaningful response from employers.
The reason is simple. Traditional job boards (like Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, etc.) have made applying for jobs so easy that employers receive thousands of resumes every day.
The result is that hiring managers have to very quickly screen out a lot of resumes. This means that most job applications are disqualified after about a 10-30 second glance from the hiring manager.
The useful takeaway here is that candidate should recognize that being ignored by employers is not personal (happens to everyone), and to only apply for jobs for which they are ‘qualified’.
It’s also important to know that over 45% of jobs are filled through a candidate’s personal network, so asking others for help and knowing exactly what kind of job you want is important.
CEO, IMPACT Group
A response can come anytime after an applicant hits submit
With online job boards, hiring managers can typically review submissions in real-time. If they happen to be online at the same time you’re submitting, you might get a reply within minutes.
Even if you don’t hear back from the company right away, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Oftentimes, if a hiring manager likes an applicant, they will keep their information on file for up to a year in case another position becomes available.
Typically, applicants receive a response within a few weeks if they’re being considered for the role
However, response time can vary greatly from one organization to the next. At my company, we coach applicants to go the extra mile. We recommend they be proactive and look at multiple networking channels to find connections within the company they want to work for.
Do you have a connection on LinkedIn who works for the organization? Are there recruiters within your industry you could reach out to? Doing this can greatly increase an applicant’s chances of getting a response.
Doing prep work before submitting your application can help improve response time. Follow the company on social channels. Find its pain points. Then, address those within your application with a well-written cover letter.
HarperCollins Leadership Author | Founder & Executive Director, Professionals In Transition
There is no hard and fast rules when it comes to a company responding to your application
Recently an HR manager told me that her metrics for hiring were a maximum of 90 days. So, she said, they usually don’t respond to a candidate for three or four weeks because they are working on filling other positions. As long as she filled a position within 90 days, everyone was happy.
I always remind job searchers that an HR representative’s sense of urgency can be very different from their own, and you can’t change that.
Talent Acquisition Manager, The 20
Job applications are a tricky subject because you never really know who is reviewing them. Every single company handles their applications differently.
Some companies have policies that they have to respond to an application within 48 hours
Some applications go into a black hole and you’ll be lucky to receive a confirmation email that your application was received.
As a professional who has worked for companies at both extremes, I always recommend reaching out to a hiring manager or recruiter from the company to show initiative.
A quick email or LinkedIn connection can make all the difference in the world. Making yourself stick out in a sea of applicants increases your chances of getting a response, especially in a timely manner.
Companies are generally pretty quick to jump on candidates that they are interested in, so if you don’t hear back within a week or two, I would recommend moving on to the next application.
VP of Marketing, Azuga
You can’t always expect to hear back
It needs to be taken on a case by case basis, as some companies are notorious for only getting back to those they are interested in moving forward with.
This can be due to personal preference, or it being impractical to respond back to those who didn’t make it to the next step if it was a position that had hundreds, even thousands of applicants.
The time frame varies
The time it takes to hear back will depend on a variety of factors including the urgency to fill the position, amount of applicants, etc. You shouldn’t ever go into the job application process with an exact expectation in terms of when you’ll hear back, considering there is a possibility that you may never hear back.
I will say that it is fairly uncommon for a company to go longer than a week or two without updating you regarding your status in the process. After a certain amount of time, you may just need to push forward with other opportunities.
Dr. Mike Golpa
Director, G4 by Golpa
If you haven’t heard back within one month of an application, you’re not going to
If you haven’t heard back within two weeks of an interview, then they’ve already filled the position.
Companies know that good applicants aren’t going to be on the market for long, just like good jobs aren’t going to be. They’ll be snapped up like hotcakes on a Sunday morning. This means a company won’t waste too much time picking an applicant if they really liked one.
That being said, if you really want the job, follow up. There’s every possibility they are looking for something to tip the scales and a professional nudge towards you isn’t a bad idea.
We all love it when the cogs of our companies are running smoothly without any interruptions. In this case, all the applicants are getting a decent and quick response regardless if they are invited to the next stage or not.
But life is full of surprises. The hiring manager might get sick or do a bit of project firefighting. There might be an organizational change that impacted the job description of the position you have applied.
You might be competing back to back with another applicant, and the employer took more time to evaluate your performance and make the final decision. The list can go on and on.
When applying for a job, you need to be patient, especially if it is the application for your dream company
In most cases, you would get the response within a few days. If you don’t get it immediately, you might want to do a follow-up, but there’s no reason to panic or get discouraged.
CEO, Vocal Academy
The rule of thumb is not to bet on one employer. Looking for a job is like attending the marketplace: both employers and applicants are buying and selling something.
If an applicant is considered a good match, the company will make sure not to make the applicant wait too long
Thus, if you’re not getting a response for a couple of days, try making a follow-up call. Alternatively, send an email to make sure the first attempt did not land in spam or was not received for any other reason. If the second attempt did not result in moving to the next stage of the recruitment process, you might probably cross out this employer from your list.