Skip to main content

Interview process taking forever? Don’t panic.

Stay flexible and use this time to learn more about the company, experts say.

Interview process taking forever? Don’t panic.

It’s a sad fact that sometimes the job interview process goes on a long time — a really long time. Some employers need multiple levels of review or approval before they can make an offer to a job candidate. If you’re going through several rounds, you’re probably feeling a little frustrated. Here are some tips on how to stay calm during a long interview process.

Look for other opportunities

Don’t close yourself off to other opportunities that might come up during this time, says Katie Donovan of Equal Pay Negotiations. You may even find new possibilities that are better than the one you’re waiting on. If a new prospective employer asks, answer truthfully that you are interviewing elsewhere, she says. If a new company offers you a job, inform any other potential employers as a courtesy and let them know you are open to any offer they are interested in making, but it would need to be done by a certain date.

Learn about the company

A long interview process can give you the time to learn more about the company and determine ways you can provide value. Pay attention during interviews and determine what the company does well and what it needs to fix, says Todd Rhoad, managing director of Blitz Team Consulting. He recommends researching ways to improve the company’s performance and bringing up ideas the next time you interview.

At the same time, you can also consider whether you think you’d be a good fit for the company. “Pretend you already work there and this is a way for you to observe how they work, how they react to what you bring to the table and assume that every interaction you have is no different than if you were already an employee there,” says Nihar K. Chhaya, founder of Next Stage Career.  

Doing so can help take the edge off mentally and reframe these interviews as a meeting of colleagues, as if you were already part of the team, he says. Hiring managers are most concerned about whether would you would fit in and hit the ground running with what they really need if they hired you, he says. Find ways to show you would.

Get comfortable not knowing

You might be asking yourself “Why haven’t they called me back yet?” but you’re not going to get an answer, says personal coach Gary van Warmerdam — so let it go. “It just puts your mind into the stressful task of solving a puzzle without all the pieces,” he says. The person who has to interview you next may be on vacation, family leave or busy finishing a project. “You don’t know, and trust that you don’t need to know,” he says.

In most cases, the long process isn’t because the company is doubting that you’re the right fit, Chhaya says. It may simply be that they have a multifaceted approach to candidate assessment. “I worked for a global executive assessment firm that put candidates through behavioral, business, cognitive and interpersonal assessments that involved role playing, diagnostic questionnaires and real time exams, all in addition to a basic interview and résumé submission,” he says. Processing that data can take a lot of time, particularly if there are several candidates to consider.

Practice gratitude

Remember when you first submitted a résumé to this company? You’ve come a long way since that moment, and there’s no reason to feel like you’re behind schedule, van Warmerdam says. Take the time to appreciate how far you’ve come, even if you’re not at your goal yet.