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Why It Takes ~So Long~ To Hear Back After A Job Interview

Just breathe, girl.
PHOTO: istockphoto

If there’s one thing about the job hunt we all secretly hate, it’s the anxiety brought on by relentlessly refreshing our emails or waiting for the phone to ring. Heck, it’s more nerve-wracking to not hear back from a potential employer than from that cute guy you dated once. But if there’s anything I learned from being on both sides of the fence—I can’t even count how many jobs I’ve applied for and I used to do HR-related tasks on top of my content writer duties at my previous job)—it’s that recruitment processes generally take a looong time.


Want to know why? Here’s what happens after a job interview, according to recruiters and HR specialists:

"I write a narrative report immediately after the interview and send it to the hiring managers for review. It really depends on the vacant post, but for managerial positions, the candidates have to go through five interviews. I think it takes weeks for others because not all hiring managers are responsive, though it should be a practice by recruiters to keep the candidates up to date.” –Summer, 27, BPO Recruiter

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“If they don’t hear back, chances are, they weren’t accepted. Not everyone has the time to send updates to those who were interviewed. They have to understand that recruiters interview numerous applicants. You better establish rapport with the one who contacted you. Thank them after the schedule so that when you follow up or ask for a status, you have more chances of getting a response. Send an email first, and if they don’t respond, go ahead and call.” –Shey, 34, HR at a gaming company


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“Recruiters want to interview as much as they can within the given time frame and somehow compare and rank all the candidates they've interviewed before providing their feedback. There’s an elimination process—who are the top candidates and who didn't make the cut? Previous work experience is already a given factor for the technical requirement but current and expected compensation, willingness to work with the office location and shift, culture fit and motivation are also considered.” –Marshie, 26, Talent Acquisition Specialist at an engineering company

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“The first thing we do is check how many slots the company still has for the specific position you’re applying for. Then, we have to weigh in the pros and cons of every passing applicant. After the evaluation, we hire a third party agency to run a background check. These third party agencies make sure you are who you appear to be on your resume and it usually takes them four to five business days to finish all the applicants, and send results. Lastly, we compare the results of our own evaluation and the results of the background check. If you pass everything, you can expect a call within a day or two—then again, there are hundreds of applicants and about two to three recruiters making the calls so it might take a while. Quick Tip: Make sure the references included in your resume are not the names and numbers of random strangers because we will know for sure.” –Ralph, 26, BPO Recruiter

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“Usually, we compare the applicants to others. We get the cream of the crop. Aside from the competencies, we also consider if the applicant would last and if they’re a good fit with the company’s culture. It depends on the position but there will be a series of tests and/or interviews so medyo matagal talaga. Oh, and it also depends on the schedule of the interviewer.” –Em, 26, Training Assistant Manager at Ropali Group of Companies

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“Aside from the volume of applicants, the endorsement process also takes time. It could also be because the organization itself doesn’t have an existing applicant feedback process; or if there is, it’s not strongly being reinforced. Their current applicant tracking system (ATS) may not have the ability to provide mass feedback.” –MJ, 27, Global HR/Talent Systems and Analytics Specialist at Baker McKenzie Global Services Manila

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“The reasons differ for all the companies I’ve worked for in the last 15 years. It is common to have several interviews for a job vacancy. An initial interview is usually facilitated by someone from HR for shortlisting. Activities between the initial interview until the next one may include: discussion of candidate profiles, availability of schedules, re-calibration of the position's requirements, change in business direction, etc. The list for succeeding interviews may include the direct boss up to the head of the department. The more people we involve in the process, the longer it takes." –Alex, 33, HR at a financial/BPO company

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