Getting a Job

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

Quick Navigation:

When you are applying for jobs, you can learn about the hiring process to better understand the steps you will take and what to expect. In some cases, companies may have a predetermined process that follows a timeline. In other cases, the timeline may vary depending on your experience level. In this article, you can learn about the different scenarios for hearing back from an employer after you apply for a job.

Industry averages can help explain how long it takes to hear about a job

There are some sectors in which the average hire times are different than others. Construction is at the lower end of the scale, with an average time of 12.7 days between the vacancy opening up and the hiring process being completed. Health services, by contrast, can take as long as 49 days. 

The average across all sectors was 29.5 days, and education narrowly missed hitting the mid-point with its average of 29.3 days. The data shows that industries that have an understandably high turnover of staff, such as leisure and hospitality, retail and construction have shortened the hiring process to fill roles more quickly.

This is also true in reverse with larger organizations and those with more specialist roles and lower staff turnover. Up at the top with health services was financial services with an average of 44.7 days and government where the average time to hire is 40.9 days. 

This is because restaurants and bars hire fastest with an average of 10.2 days, with private security and supermarkets following closely at 11.6 and 12.3 days respectively. At the top end, the government is leading the field at 53.8 days and although the aerospace and defense sector is next longest, with a hiring time of 32.6, the difference between the two sectors demonstrates how much variation there can be.

Some industries have more requirements than others

There are some sectors where the hiring process is long for a reason, like education and healthcare, because employers conduct background and employment checks. Any roles that require working with young or vulnerable people will be subject to more time-consuming checks than roles where that level of transparency isn’t required. 

For some roles, being able to demonstrate a working knowledge of the role is the most important factor in securing a position. This is why trial shifts are a popular interview alternative for roles such as bartending, retail and waiting tables. Often an applicant will be hired soon after they have shown their skills which makes the hiring times much quicker than in other sectors.

A company’s hiring process can make a difference

Many hiring managers look at resumes as they are submitted in order to look for qualified applicants. In cases where employers require panel or group interviews, it can take longer to coordinate schedules for everyone on the panel. After the company plans the date, each person will read and sort through the applications and arrange times to interview their preferred candidates. 

At this point, there may be applicants who haven’t yet had a response or have their applications on hold, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t going to get a chance to interview with the hiring panel. If the interviewer doesn’t find someone to hire during the first round of interviews, they may contact an additional round of applicants and ask them to come for an interview or work trial. 

Sometimes an employer’s first choice of candidate will turn down a job offer, fail a medical check or there will be issues with their qualifications or references, in which case the employer will contact more people for interviews.

Use your waiting time wisely

You can consider these options for what to do while you wait for a response:

You can apply for more jobs

Keep checking job postings and make sure you don’t miss out on an opportunity just because you are waiting to hear back from a job, even if you think it is the perfect role for you. If you don’t get the job you originally wanted, then you still have other options. It will help to keep you motivated if you know that another opportunity is still open to you. If you are offered the job, you may be able to negotiate more favorable terms if you have another offer on the table.

You can send a follow-up email 

You can email the hiring manager after a reasonable period of time, usually thought to be around two weeks, but if you’re in an industry with a shorter hiring time you may want to do it sooner. Some sectors recommend sending a ‘thank you’ email immediately after an interview for those who have been through that process, so it’s worth checking what the expectation is in your field.

You can thank the employer for their time

Even if you are not selected for the role, you can still thank the employer for their time. Afterward, you can continue to apply for jobs. Most people submit applications to multiple employers before they find a job that is a good fit.