Sarah Katz

NYC-Based Full Stack JS Developer

From the mind of Sarah...

The Waiting Game: The Time Between Interviews

May 05, 2019

Earlier this week I had an interview with a company. At the end of the interview, I was told that they would get back to me "soon" (I didn't push for a more specific timeline because I always feel uncomfortable doing that, and last time this company told me "soon", it was only a few days, so I wasn't worried).

And then ... the waiting began.

There are a lot of things to not like about the job search process. How hard it is to get noticed in a sea of candidates. Answering question after question when you can't figure out how they're related to the job you're interviewing for. Algorithms. Obscure code challenges. Whiteboarding. Half- and Full-day interviews.

One of the less talked about, but no less difficult, parts of the job search process is the waiting. Waiting for a recruiter to decide if they want to bring you in for an interview. Waiting for the hiring team to decide after an interview if they want to continue in the process with you. Waiting for a company to decide if they want to extend you an offer.

So much waiting. And while "patience is a virtue" (or so they say) ... waiting is hard as heck. It's stressful. You have to hope for the best, but also be aware that when you do hear back from the company, it could be bad news. It's hard to balance those two emotions sometimes and to keep them balanced as you wait to hear back. It's stressful. Every phone call from an unknown number could be them. Every time your phone makes the email notification noise, it could be news. It's really tough.

Waiting will always be hard. But there are some ways to make the wait a little less bad. Here are my suggestions:

  • Keep being an active job searcher. Even if the company you're waiting to hear from is your dream company, you can't put all of your eggs in one basket. Apply to other jobs. Talk to other companies. Get yourself in the pipeline elsewhere. It'll keep you distracted, and if you do end up getting bad news from the company, now you have other options. It's always a good idea to have multiple options and be in the interview process with multiple companies (if you can).
  • Follow up (if you're comfortable with that). Not everyone is comfortable writing a follow up email. And that's fine (be aware that if you don't follow up with the company, you may end up getting ghosted). If you are comfortable following up, shoot your contact a quick email just to see if they have an updated timeline. If they gave you a time when they would follow up and that time hasn't come yet, you can still make sure you're on their radar by shooting them an email following up on something you discussed in a prior conversation or asking a question about the company.
  • Immerse yourself in a hobby. This is one of my #1 tips for job searchers in general. Distract yourself by finding (or spending time on) something else you love. Bonus points if it's something relevant to the job and you can send a follow email to the company telling them all about your hobby and how it makes you a better candidate.

Waiting to hear back from a company is never easy, but there are ways to make it a little less difficult.
What do you do to make the wait for news less bad? Share your suggestions and tips in the comments!

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