We’ve all been there: you find a job that you’re excited about and qualified for, craft the perfect cover letter, polish up your resume, and send off your application. You wait and wait, but never hear back. Or perhaps you even got to the interview stage, but after what you thought was a fantastic interview, you never received a follow-up email or call. Waiting is one of the most difficult parts of the job search. As the candidate waiting to hear back, you never know if you’re still being considered or if you’ve been passed over for the role, but never received a formal rejection. This waiting is entirely normal and expected, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get tough over time.
So, how can you handle this period of anticipation and what are the best ways to approach companies when you simply don’t hear back? Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to help you navigate the wait time between applying and hearing back:
Do be patient. Recruiters and hiring managers need time to go through many applications. As much as you’d love to hear back the next day or by the end of the week, it’s important to remember that your application might be one of several.
Don’t keep checking your email. As tempting as it may be to continuously refresh your email while on the job hunt, give yourself time and space away from your inbox. Whether that’s spending some time with family or going for a walk, a watched inbox doesn’t necessarily yield a flood of job offers. Checking your email constantly can put you on edge, so take breaks when you can.
Do follow up when appropriate. It’s difficult to put a time stamp on when to follow up on an application, but there are a few different scenarios when it’s appropriate. For instance, if you had an interview with company X and they told you they’d get back to you “early in the week,” it’s appropriate to follow up at the end of that week if you haven’t heard back.
Don’t get frustrated. There’s a trend currently going around social media apps advising candidates to expose their recruiters if they don’t hear back after an interview. These videos instruct candidates to write to a recruiter’s manager saying, “I spoke with X recruiter on February 1st, but never heard back after our interview, even after I followed up. Is this normal for your company’s hiring process?”. Don’t burn this bridge! It is possible to respectfully and professionally express a lack of communication directly and privately to the recruiter who didn’t follow up with you, be sure to keep it strictly constructive. Going to a recruiter’s manager or posting a public, frustrated message on social media will likely reflect more poorly on you than on the recruiter. Even when it’s difficult, remember to always stay positive and accommodating while on the job hunt, as you never know what might affect your eligibility as a candidate down the road.
Keep these ideas in mind as you continue the application process and encounter similar scenarios. Ultimately, as the candidate, it’s up to you to put your best foot forward, stay positive, and take mental health breaks as needed. The waiting game can be challenging but can also end up being well worth it.
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