How long should I wait before checking in on a late-stage interview process that’s gone silent? I’m interviewing for a top software engineering management role after being asked to apply by the CTO. I really want this job.
The role would report to the CTO, with whom I interviewed twice, and then once with the engineering team. That last interview was three weeks ago, and I haven’t heard anything since. They didn’t tell me what kind of timeline to expect. I really want this job, and I’m going crazy waiting to know what happens next. Will checking in to soothe my anxiety damage the relationship? Do I have to wait some more weeks in limbo? Thank you so much for your help.
This may be hard to hear, but the worst thing you can do is “really want this job.” The truth is, most interview processes go south. The only way to plan around that is to focus your next opportunity.
If you sit and wait for that CTO to make a decision while you’re on pins and needles, it’s going to hurt you. Get out – go date some other companies pronto!
Then, if this goes south, you’ll feel a lot better for having “live” options.
Keep this in mind: You have NO control over that employer and you will never have any idea what transpired if they don’t hire you. The only thing you control is what I refer to as “On to the next!”
If you really want this job, ask now
Having said all that, I’d send a very casual, very informal note to the CTO. There is no need to wait longer.
How to Say It
“How are we doing on that position? I’m still interested. Are you?”
Don’t get all formal and wordy. (Avoid saying you really want this job!) If he says yes, then ask for a timetable.
How to Say It
“I’m talking with other companies. You’re my first choice. I want to work with you. But I certainly understand if you haven’t made a decision. I hope you understand I have a timetable of my own, and I don’t want you to think I’ve lost interest. Can you tell me when you expect to make a decision?”
By the way, never use the exact words I suggest. Bend “how to say it,” shape it so it fits your style and makes you comfortable, and always use your own best judgment.
It is possible they’ve got other fish to fry. Sometimes it can take a long time. But after this much time a CTO owes you some information.
On to the next!
If he says there will be no offer, there’s little you can do. If he says he’s got no info for you, then you to focus on “On to the next!” and let this guy simmer on low. If he comes back, great. If not, make sure you have alternatives.
Three weeks is a long time. Has his silence “damaged the relationship?” Ask him what’s up as offhandedly as you can, with a friendly come-hither tone. Expect a useful answer, then get on with it.
I hope you get the job. Like I said, this could just be a matter of the company being occupied with other tasks. But by letting a candidate stew, they risk not being able to fill a key job. Letting them know you may be gone by the time they get their act together will relieve your stress and also maybe help you find the job where they really do want you.
Waiting on one lottery ticket to pay off never paid anyone’s mortgage. Get back in the game now!
How long do you wait to ask for a hiring decision? Have you ever put your job search on pause while waiting on a job you “really want,” only to realize you’re left empty-handed? How would you advise this reader?