Waiting to Hear Back about a Job? Ward off Depression and Paranoia.


Waiting to hear back after your interview might just be the hardest part of the job-search process.  Many people become paranoid and depressed, and may even stop their job search while they wait to hear back.  If this sounds like you, ask yourself three questions:

1. Did I do everything in my power to prepare myself for the interview and provide my most professional image of myself?
2. Do I feel good about how my interview went?
3. Did I give 100% on the project or work sample I provided (if they asked for one)?

If you’ve done all the possible preparation, you gave the best interview you could, and you even sent a lovely thank you note, the only thing you can do now is wait.  Depending on who you are trying to get a job with, this could be just a day or a few days, or it could be long, painful weeks.  As the waiting stretches longer, candidates usually start getting down on themselves.  If you start having thoughts like “they’d never choose me anyway,” or “they obviously already have someone picked out,” or my favorite, “I’m definitely not what they’re looking for.”  While you’re not alone, you’re also not doing yourself any favors!

Only the hiring manager has all of the facts, and that’s why the urge kicks in to fill in the blanks with wild speculation.  Do not surrender to this urge.  When you try to guess what other people are thinking – especially what they are thinking about you – you are setting yourself up to take actions that may not be characteristic of your normal self, and which may damage the image you presented to the hiring team.

During the first 3 weeks you should not:

– Call and leave a message for the hiring manager checking in

– E-mail again after sending your thank you note

– Freak out and start trying to guess what the prospective employer is thinking


During week 4 it is now appropriate to:

– Call or email the recruiter or hiring manager and let them know that you are still interested and hoping to be joining their team.


Remember that while you may be totally focused on this job posting, the hiring manager is probably not sitting at their desk all day researching you.  Businesses continue to run during candidate searches and if the role you are hoping to fill is on a team that’s short on headcount, they are probably spending most of their time dealing with the additional work that comes with being down one person.  They have regular business to attend to that is most likely the cause of any delays, not a spirited back and forth debate regarding your candidacy.

So when does the paranoia really become an issue for most people?  In my experience, it’s when you’ve been waiting 4 weeks or more.  This is the time when the negative self-talk kicks in, you may begin to feel a little depressed.  After so much time has gone by you may even have written yourself off for the job in question.  Don’t do it.  Instead, think of a time when you meant to do something right away, but suddenly realized that several weeks had gone by and it was still incomplete.

While there is no cure for the waiting-to-hear-back-blues, the best ointment for this particular wound is more job applications.  Keep applying for jobs, because if this one comes back as a “no thank you,” you will still have other irons in the fire.   You have to have faith in yourself if you want to walk into the room and convince a hiring manager to have faith in you.


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