Setting Time Limits for Employer Response after an Interview

Setting time limits for a response from an employer after an interview is a common, irritating, issue for job hunters.

Times and Issues

Waiting for an employer to get back to you about an interview can be frustrating.

There are a range of real issues in this situation, as well as the general frustration:

  • Making any further commitments can be difficult if you think you’ve already got a job. You may have to do a balancing act, if you’re suddenly told you’ve got the job, and have lined up something else while waiting.
  • Going back to job hunting involves a lot of effort, doing applications, and a lot of work which may be quite unnecessary. Job seekers like to be able to take a break before starting a new job, to get the “job hunting syndrome” out of their psyches.
  • Waiting for disappointment isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. The time taken to be told you didn’t get a job can be insulting, as if your time didn’t matter. Getting a letter a month or so later informing you that you didn’t get a job, which you already knew, doesn’t help much, either.

Having Control of the Situation

The combination of waiting, anticipation and other factors can be quite unpleasant. That’s aggravated by the fact that you don’t have much control over the situation, and that realistically it may take over a week before a decision is made.

The lack of control and the related doubts are major issues. Insecurity isn’t made any more bearable by lack of information, and the natural desire to get moving produces equally natural impatience.

To take control of your issues, you do need to take some action. Setting time limits can be done arbitrarily, like a week’s time after the interview, or some other realistic factor.

There are a few elements to consider, however, when you set time limits.

  • Big organizations can be very slow. This is a bureaucratic snail’s pace, and it’s advisable to allow 2 weeks for the wheels to turn.
  • Small organizations might be swamped. They simply can’t do things quickly in some cases. A couple of people getting flu can slow them down by a week. Again, 2 weeks is a realistic time frame.
  • International jobs: The international element expands time frames. If the local organization has to ask for approval from home office, allow three weeks. If you’ve applied direct for an overseas job, the immigration, Green Card types of issues, and other factors can easily blow out time frames for a month.
  • Contract jobs: Usually quicker, but not necessarily. Contracts can raise their own issues, particularly if all contracts go through an administrative bottleneck. On principle, allow an extra week for the paper shuffling.
  • Freelance jobs: These jobs are often much quicker than any other form of employment to get started, but in some cases there may need to be a decision further up the food chain, particularly if the job is based on a bid. It’s advisable to consider two weeks as the likely time frame.