5 Things to Do While You Wait to Hear Whether You Got the Job

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A man speaks to a recruiter at a job fair.
Team Edwards member Arman Johnson speaks with a local business representative during a Spouse Employment Job Fair at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force/Giancarlo Casem)

The interviews went well. You're one of their final candidates. Now, you wait to hear whether you got the job.

This can be one of the most stressful parts of the hiring process for most candidates! Instead of biting all your fingernails off or stalking the hiring manager, here are some constructive things you can do to pass the time:

1. Be patient. Recognize that, while this job might be a critical component of your career and future, to the employer it might be one of many positions they are trying to fill. Practice patience and understanding, and remember where the employer is coming from.

2. Consider volunteering before you start your new job. If you've been interested in mentoring a fellow veteran, for instance, do it now. Spending a few hours on the phone or in person helping someone else can be a great distraction to your stress.

3. Get your wardrobe ready for your next career. Take clothes to the dry cleaners or tailor if they need it. Organize your closet so you can efficiently get ready in the morning if you get the job. Polish your shoes, get a haircut and purchase any items you need to complete your career wardrobe and image.

Related: Search for Veteran Jobs

4. Create a backup plan. In the event you don't get the job, plan what you'd do. Consider applying for other jobs in case you need to pursue other options. Note: If you do get the offer and accept, as a courtesy, let the other potential employers know that you are withdrawing your application.

5. Send thank you notes. It's likely that as you were pursuing this opportunity others helped you. Take time to write personalized notes to each person. Think hard about everyone who's been a part of your journey and drop them a note thanking them for taking the time to coach you, review your resume or LinkedIn profile, recommend you to the employer or provide a job reference. This small gesture will get noticed!

What to Do If You Don't Hear Back

So, what happens if a couple of weeks go by and you haven't heard anything? Following up is always tricky: You want to show the employer that you're very interested in the job and are ready to get started, but you can't appear overanxious or impatient.

Assuming they set expectations during the hiring process (e.g. "we'll be making our decision next week"), if that time has come and gone, feel free to send a follow-up email. Be gentle and direct in your message. For instance, you might write:

"Hello. I am following up on the status of the position for which you indicated I am a finalist. I remain extremely interested in the job and look forward to hearing your decision. If you would like any additional information, I'd be happy to provide it. Thank you."

Hopefully, this will garner you a response one way or another. Remember that unforeseen circumstances can arise, and don't let your imagination play games with you in understanding why they haven't gotten back to you.

If they do not respond,and more time passes, consider one last attempt to assert your interest. If that proves unsuccessful, it might be time to move on. Unfortunately, some hiring managers get too busy to let finalists know they weren't chosen.

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