Let’s face it, the job search process can be time consuming, lengthy, and stressful. Once you’ve submitted an application, waiting to hear back for a position you desperately want can be torture, and is probably the worst part of the job search process. Have you done enough to land an interview, or is it time to get back on the treadmill and apply for yet more roles?
Many job seekers want to know how long it takes to hear back from hiring managers or employers after submitting a resume. It could be seen as the “how long is a piece of string?” question, but there are ways to find out. The answer depends on when and where you’re submitting your job application.
In this post, we’ll show you how long it takes to hear back after applying for a job in 2023, and address other related questions that might cross your mind.
Here is what this article covers:
How long does it take to hear back after applying for a job online?
You could hear back anywhere from within a few hours to a few weeks. That’s probably not the answer you want to hear, but there are some ways that you can get a rough idea about when you might receive a decision so you can decide how to follow up on a job application. Below are a few different situations that you might encounter, and when you could expect to hear back from the employer or hiring manager after sending out your resume.
1. Look for a “closing date” on the job posting
The first thing you can do is check the job posting and see if there is a closing date. Some online postings will contain a “closing date” which usually means they will be accepting applications until the very last day.
If that’s the case, you can expect to hear back within a week or so after the closing date. They rarely ever hire someone before the closing date so don’t get discouraged or send a follow up email before that date. If you don’t hear back a week after the closing date, you could then follow up with a beautifully crafted email, detailing that you are still interested in the post. It’s not being pushy; it’s showing initiative and enthusiasm for the job in hand.
It can even help with future roles as the hiring manager is more likely to remember your interest if you’ve followed up with a polite message that emphasizes your strengths. If you applied directly using the company’s email, then use the same email address when you follow-up. If it’s through a job site, do a bit of research by checking out the company website and honing in on the HR department or talent team to ensure that you contact the right person.
2. Figure out how big the company is
You can also get an idea as to when they’ll reply based on the size of the company. If you’re sending a job application form to a small or medium sized company, you can expect a response within a few days or up to a week.
If you’re sending it to a much larger organization, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a month. It really depends on the number of applicants and whether somebody has already been offered the job.
There could be a few weeks of interviews lined up, and if they don't find anyone suitable to fill the role, they’ll start calling in other candidates.
If you’re sending a direct email to a recruiter or hiring manager then you could also expect a reply within a few days.
The average response time after submitting a resume for a small to midsize company is under a week, while a large company may take between 1 and 4 weeks, or even more.
3. Consider the ATS
Most large organizations utilize an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) which automatically screens resumes. You may receive an automated email telling you that they’ve received your resume or that you’re not the right match, within just a few minutes of applying for the job. Your resume should be keyword optimized and formatted for those ATS scans as they reject nearly 75% of candidates straightaway.
If you’re immediately rejected for a job even though you know you’re suitably qualified for that role, it’s time to revamp your resume and perhaps seek professional help. You can see how your resume does in an actual ATS screening by taking advantage of our free resume review.
4. Ask an employee of the company
If you have contact with someone who works for the organization, persuade them to find out what’s going on. There could be a perfectly valid reason for a delay, such as internal changes or a change of ownership. That inside contact can be invaluable, as they can inform you about other positions coming up that might be of interest to you.
5. Use social media
If you still haven’t heard from the employer after a reasonable amount of time, consider linking to the company’s social media platforms. There might be updated information on there that relates to current positions available, and the status of the job application process, such as it’s moved to the second stage and only potential candidates have been informed.
What to do while you wait for a response to your job application
So what do you do while waiting for a response? Kick back and let them come to you? No way. There’s no point in resting on your laurels and waiting to hear back from one company before applying elsewhere. Keep sending out your resume to as many companies as possible, for other positions that fit your qualifications .
Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the job search process.
1. Keep your job search organized
Keep track of when you applied for each position by using Excel, Word or any other application. This will help you follow up with each resume submission in the right time frame. Check out Startwire which should help you keep track of your job applications.
2. Don’t get discouraged
Many job seekers face job search depression after just a few weeks into the application process. We all know there’s a lot of competition out there, and although it’s easier said than done, you do need to be patient and keep applying. As mentioned above, it can take any time, from a day to over a month, to hear back about a job.
Don’t rely solely on job boards when looking for a new job. Networking is still the best way to land a job in 2023, but many job seekers don’t take advantage of it or lack the confidence to give it a try. Reach out to friends, family, and old colleagues to see if there is anyone who can refer you for a job. Remember that those people know other people, and so on and so forth, so your network can be exponential -- don’t neglect it.
So how long does it typically take for a company to respond to a candidate’s job application during the hiring process?
When you’re likely to hear back after submitting your resume depends on a few factors such as the size of the company and the number of applicants who applied for the job. It can be anywhere from a day to a few months so don’t sit around waiting to get a response.
Keep sending your resume out to as many positions as you’re qualified for, and don’t forget to network. If you’re not getting any interviews, you may need to change your job search strategy or improve your resume. Also keep in mind that networking on LinkedIn is one of the most effective ways to land a job.
Good luck with your job search.
Elizabeth Openshaw, Editor & Content Writer, Elizabeth Openshaw, Editor & Content Writer
Elizabeth Openshaw is an Elite CV Consultant with over 12 years of experience based in Brighton, UK, with an English degree and an addiction to Wordle! She is a former Journalist of 17 years with the claim to fame that she interviewed three times Grand Slam winner and former World No.1 tennis player, Andy Murray, when he was just 14 years old. You can connect with her at Elizabeth Openshaw | LinkedIn.