For some job seekers, the waiting game after an interview is almost as nerve-wracking as the interview itself. Whether the news is good or bad, you just want to know whether your job search has ended or the hunt continues. The timing of company calls after interviews can vary greatly, depending on the setting, the hiring manager, your status and the level of formality in the company's hiring process.
Hiring managers may call you in as soon as one or two days. In retail, it is fairly common for a manager to get right back to you if she wants to hire you. This is because retail stores often don't fill specific positions -- they hire candidates that meet their sales or service standards. In other situations, managers may call candidates that don't make the final cut fairly quickly. While the news is bad, this at least shows professionalism and courtesy so that you can quickly move on to the next opportunity.
In some organizations, the hiring process is deliberate and involves multiple steps. After the interviews, a hiring manager may narrow the selection down to one or two finalists. She then checks references to confirm your work history. At this point, you may get a call indicating you have the job or didn't get it. In some organizations, though, a thorough background check is conducted and a formal job offer only comes from the human resources department. You could get a call indicating that you were referred for the position within a week, but official word could take another couple of weeks.
Your position in the pecking order of candidates also impacts how soon you get a call. If you don't get a call immediately, you might have made the final cut. Companies often like to extend a job offer to the top candidate before contacting runner-ups. This gives them a fallback position if the first job offer is rejected. You might get a call after several days or week with an offer. Usually, a company won't indicate that you were the second choice when extending the offer.
The worst-case scenario is that you never receive a call from a company. Even with the best intentions, hiring managers tend to focus on preferred candidates and may forget to, neglect or not have the time to contact candidates not receiving an offer. This is especially true in retail or other work settings where interviews happen perpetually. A February 2013 Forbes article noted that, job seekers can increase the potential for a call by sending a thank-you letter a few days after the interview. If you haven't heard anything after a couple of weeks, call the manager to check on your status, unless you were told the process would take longer.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.