Job Searching

How Long Does it Take to Hear Back from a Job?

Natasha Serafimovska

Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer

Are you applying for your very first job? Maybe you’re anticipating your termination from your current role and want to be proactive. Either way, waiting to hear back on your job application can be stressful. If time has passed since you applied, you may wonder how long does it take to hear back from a job. Well, the answer is… it depends. 

Two significant contributors to hiring times are job title and industry. A LinkedIn study evaluated over 400,000 hires made through LinkedIn. Researchers discovered that the hiring process could take anywhere from 33 days for customer success roles to 49 days for engineering roles. Furthermore, Glassdoor studies have revealed that government roles take about two months to fill while hospitality and beauty industry roles are filled in less than two weeks. 

Other factors that play a part in how long it takes to hear back from a job are the size of the company and whatever unique circumstances the business faces. Here, we look at what you can expect once you’ve applied for a job. We’ll also show you ways to spend your waiting time so you can put yourself in the best possible position to land the role.

How can you keep yourself busy while waiting for a recruiter to respond?

How Long Does It Take to Hear Back from a Job?

two business men facing a clock discussing how long it takes to hear back from a job

You can expect to hear back from the company anywhere between one or two weeks after the closing date of the job application. Bear in mind, though, that this is just an average and that this can vary depending on the individual circumstances of the business. Sometimes, companies may share the timeline of their hiring cycle and when candidates can expect to hear back in the job ad, so it’s worth checking there for any further details.

It is also important to mention that you risk never hearing back from an employer. While that sounds horrible, statistics show that this is reality. Just remember that it is part of the process and nothing personal. The main thing to remember is not to put all your eggs in one basket. Keep applying to relevant jobs to increase your chances of getting a callback.

You May Sometimes Hear Back Sooner

If a company is short-staffed or anticipating an increase in business activity (think Christmas, for instance), they may reach out to candidates the very next day. For example, the Great Resignation hit retail and hospitality hard, so they have the shortest hiring cycle of just ten days. Likewise, if you’ve applied at a startup or a small company where things move fast, they may reach out to applicants within days.

If that happens, great! Make sure you’re prepared for the interview and respond promptly. That said, don’t forget that this type of fast turnaround is rare, and if this happens to you once, don’t expect it to happen with all other job applications. 

What to Do While You’re Waiting?

woman facing a clock trying to figure out what to do while she waits to hear back from the recruiter

Waiting to hear back from a potential employer can be nerve-wracking, but it’s an inevitable part of the job-hunting process. The best thing you could do for your nerves and career is to keep applying. No matter how much you love the company or the job you’ve applied for, having dozens of applications out can soften the blow if you don’t hear back from the initial employer or if they come back with bad news.

Something else to consider here is whether you are job searching while in your current position. Deciding whether you should tell your existing boss you’re job hunting is difficult. Suppose you’re aiming for a promotion or better pay and have a good relationship with your manager. In that case, having this conversation could encourage dialogue about existing opportunities in your company. If this is not the case, you may not want to notify your employer until you are sure you have other job opportunities available.  

Another thing you can do is reach out to the hiring manager a day or two after you submit your application. Aim to introduce yourself and let the hiring manager know what role you’ve applied for and why. Reaching out via email or instant messaging on LinkedIn can help you stand out from the crowd, show genuine interest, and showcase your pro-activeness.

Finally, try to let it go. Once you’ve put your best foot forward in your resume and cover letter, there’s not much else you could do to influence your luck. Just be sure to keep yourself busy in the meantime.

woman trying to figure out what to while waiting for a recruiter to respond

How to Hear Back Faster?

No business wants a long recruitment cycle. The longer hiring takes, the more expensive it is for the company. Not to mention, long hiring time reduces team productivity and interrupts collaborative efforts. That said, companies do need to do their due diligence to analyze the candidate.

In that sense, the best way you can help companies speed up their hiring process is to make their job easy. That means sending out a tailored resume for the role and a brief cover letter. Each should offer clear, tangible examples of how and why you would excel in the job. Also, keep in mind that many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for specific keywords, which can be found in the job description. So, include these in your resume to immediately make it to the next step.

When Should You Follow-Up?

Following up about two weeks after the job ad has closed is good practice. It’s enough time to give hiring managers a chance to review candidates and invite them to interviews. Sometimes employers may share the timeline in the job ad or automated email after you’ve applied. So check these to ensure you aren’t missing any instructions.

Why Do Companies Take So Much Time?

Recruitment is expensive. New benchmarking data by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) has found that, on average, it costs businesses about $4,700 to fill a position. This number can quickly snowball into the five and six-figure digits if they want to fill more senior roles. Therefore, companies must be careful with how they screen and select candidates. 

If the position you’ve applied for garnered much interest, the hiring manager may divide applicants into several batches. You may be in the second or third batch, which means hiring managers will likely contact you later or not all.

Finally, let’s not forget that hiring managers are probably looking to fill more than just one position and have other job responsibilities. It’s important to note that recruiters (like everyone else) just need time.

How Long is Too Long?

Not many companies can get back to all applicants individually. Unfortunately, they’ve likely gone for another candidate if you haven’t heard back from the company in two or three weeks.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow up. Sometimes, companies stall their recruitment process if business priorities change or key employees are out of the office. So, they may still be in the selection process after a couple of weeks. Reaching out is also an excellent opportunity to get feedback on your application.

Final Thoughts

Job hunting can be exciting yet unnerving. The next job we get can have a massive impact on our career, well-being, and how well we do in life financially. That said, landing a job takes time. Companies often have to sift through dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants before they create a list of desired candidates.

You can make the job hunt more manageable and improve your chances of getting hired by completing all your job applications. Study each job carefully and make sure your resume and cover letter reflect what each employer is asking for. Anticipate the most common questions you’d encounter during the interview and practice your responses. And most important of all, keep applying.

Once you’ve done all that, it won’t be long before you get that shiny, new job offer in your inbox.

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