After the Interview: The Road to Job Offers and the Factors That Influence It

How often have you heard during a job interview “We plan to make a decision within the week and ...

How often have you heard during a job interview “We plan to make a decision within the week and I’ll be letting you know as soon as we decide,” and then you hear. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.

So you email the hiring manager a few days later and she replies, “I’m sorry, we’re still mulling candidates. I KNOW we’ll be making a decision within the week.”

And again: crickets.

Nerve wracking. EXTREMELY nerve wracking.

One may think, “Well, the job market’s changed a lot in the last several months. Companies aren’t as desperate for candidates now and they have many more to choose from, so they’re taking their time.”

You could be right.

But…a article back in September 2021, when the job market definitely favored candidates and employers were desperate to hire, even then the article said “everyone’s hiring but no one’s getting hired” due to the country’s “broken hiring system.” (Read the article. Seriously. It’s fascinating and, well, things haven’t changed much…)

Today, when the economy is chugging along even after warnings of a recession, job vacancies still remain vacant and job candidates STILL often can’t find work.

There could be a few reasons:

Yet we believe there are additional reasons, for the delay between when an employer says she’ll call you and when she actually does:

  1. Internal Processes and Decision-Making

Employers today have complex internal procedures that involve multiple stakeholders and decision-makers. This inevitably slows down the decision-making process, resulting in delays in notifying candidates.

In addition, unforeseen circumstances often pop up: budget constraints, workforce re-evaluations, or even organizational changes.

  1. A high volume of applications.

Companies may have several openings but they also have many candidates. Remote work means they can end up hiring someone who doesn’t even live in the same state, let alone the same region as the company.  They, therefore, have a much larger applicant pool.

In addition, many currently employed people are looking to switch employers, particularly if they have a remote-able position, but their boss insists on in-person work.

  1. Legal considerations.

There’s a lot to do when it comes to hiring. Some businesses run in industries with strict legal and/or regulatory requirements that can affect the speed of their decision-making.

Background checks, verifying references, and complying with myriad labor laws often contribute to longer decision-making timelines. Remember, employers need to navigate their way through these laws/requirements in order to make sure they have a fair and compliant hiring process.

Tips and strategies to help you weather decision delays

  • As you’re leaving the interview, ask about the projected timeline on a decision. You’ll get a better understanding of the employer’s perspective/timeline and so you’ll be better able to manage your expectations and reduce your worries.
  • Understand that the hiring manager wants to make a decision quickly but may not be able to. In addition, as a rule of thumb, if she tells you she’ll have a decision within five days, double it at minimum.
  • Don’t be afraid to email the hiring manager after the 10 days to see where she is in the hiring process. She may not have an answer, she may not reply to you, but she’ll see that you’re politely and professionally – following up. (Points to you, truly, as you’re showing continued interest in the position.)
  • Keep looking for other opportunities. Even if this is the perfect job for you, keep looking. Even if you’re certain the hiring manager will choose you, keep looking. If anything, you may receive an offer for another job and you can use that as leverage: “Hello, Hiring Manager. I know you haven’t made a decision, yet I want you to know that I’ve received another offer and I need to let them know within X days. Is there any way you could let me know if I’m a top contender?” You’ll either hear yes or no. You also may hear: “Yes, and I’ll see what I can do to get you in here ASAP to discuss more about what you’ll be doing with us if you work here.” (Believe us, this does)

Candidates and employers can both do their part to bridge this expectation gap:

  • Employers can optimize their internal processes, set realistic timelines and leverage technology to help them with decision-making.
  • Candidates can practice patience seek more information on timelines and continue looking at other opportunities.

If you have skills and experience in technology, finance and/or other professional arenas, take a look at our current opportunities and apply to those you find intriguing.

We recommend that you register with us even if you don’t see any open positions that whet your whistle, as our clients constantly send us opportunities that often never even make it to our job board.