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Advice / Job Search / Interviewing

What to Do When the Interview Process Is Dragging On (and On and On)

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It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that many companies have long interview processes consisting of multiple steps. While the unpleasant reality is that you typically won’t be offered your dream job after one or two interviews, there are times when the process drags on for what feels like forever.

In fact, I once waited an entire month after a final interview to land a gig I wanted. And if my experience is any indication, the good news is that there are some moves you can make that’ll help move things along (or at the very least, make you feel like you’re a little in control).

Here are a few things I did to get across the finish line.

1. Be Transparent About Your Other Opportunities

While I was interviewing for a new role a few years ago and starting to get offers from less exciting companies, a close friend of mine asked me if I really wanted the job.

When I said that I did, she suggested finding out how interested the company was in me. The best way to do that? Give them a heads up about your timeline and any deadlines. At the time, I thought it was risky. And in full transparency, writing this type of email does require a bit of thought.

But I used this template to let the company know that I was under a bit of pressure to make a decision. It looked something like this:

Dear Company That I Want to Work For,

I’ve really enjoyed meeting with everyone and am truly excited about the possibility of joining the team. I am currently interviewing with other companies, but this position is 100% my first choice and I’m excited about everything we’ve discussed so far. Do you have a timeframe for a final decision? I’m expected to get back to another company by next Friday.

If there’s anything else I can forward along, please let me know.


Note: Don’t send this if it isn’t true. You risk being taken out of the running entirely if their timeline doesn’t fit your (made-up) one.

2. Send the Hiring Manager a Question Related to the Company’s Goals

The funny thing about the first email I sent was that it was received incredibly well by the CEO of the company—but the interview process was still at a standstill.

I was at a bit of a loss, then one afternoon, I got curious and decided to do more research about the industry I was hoping to join. And what I was reading wasn’t clicking. So I decided to reach out to the CEO again to pick his brain about it.

Truth time: That email didn’t even get a response. And I went back multiple times to see if I had said something so dumb that they had decided never to speak to me again.

But after I eventually landed the job (sorry, spoiler), I learned that leadership considered me one of the best interviewees they had ever come across because it was clear that I not only really wanted the job, but was truly curious about the industry.

3. When All Else Fails, Don’t Take it Personally

Waiting for a month after the final interview was tougher than I thought it would be. And surprisingly, it affected my confidence more than I anticipated. “I got pretty far along in the hiring process,” I thought to myself. “But did I say something that made me sound like a complete idiot?”

When I later became a recruiter, I learned that when HR is dragging its feet, it’s often not the candidate’s fault. Whenever we decided to take a pass on someone, we did our best to let that person know as soon as possible.

However, when we made people wait for updates, the truth was that were really excited about potentially hiring them. Usually, a handful of factors held things up. In some cases, we were trying to figure out what we could afford to pay them. In others, we couldn’t figure out if the candidate would ultimately be bored in the role. And in others, we were torn between two awesome people.

Even if you ultimately get rejected for a job you’ve waited to hear about, don’t let yourself believe you failed in any way.

In an ideal world, every interview process would be consistent. And every time, you’d know when you could expect to hear back about next steps. But the reality is that sometimes things drag on.

And if you’re really anxious, don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands. Feel out the situation, of course, before you do anything. But don’t be scared to keep the conversation going. Even if it doesn’t speed up the decision, it can help you feel a bit more in control.