3 Bad Assumptions to Avoid AFTER Your Job Interview

WorkCoachCafeThe wait to hear back from the employer after a job interview can be an awful teeth-grinding, stomach-churning, seemingly interminable period of time, as thousands of job seekers have shared in their comments here on WorkCoachCafe.

Practice Post-Interview Patience, Positive Thinking, and Practicality

Job interviews have been likened to dating, and I think the comparison is apt.  The problem is most of us aren’t very good at the employment courtship-like process because we haven’t done it in a while.  Perhaps we’ve been in a “relationship” (a.k.a. “employed”), or otherwise not participating. Consequently, we’ve forgotten some of the basics – like being patient, being positive, and also being practical about the whole process.

Bad Assumptions About Job Interviews

Unfortunately, there is no quick or simple solution to this conundrum.  The best you can do is try to manage yourself – your thoughts, expectations, and responses – by not making these assumptions:

1.  Don’t assume deadline accuracy.  Instead, be patient.

At the end of the job interview, they specified a date, or a time frame, when they would have their decision made.  And that deadline is today or was yesterday or last week.

But, you haven’t hear from them by their own deadline!  Yikes!

In a job search, a missed deadline often – although not always –  means nothing more than that something or someone caused a delay.  Depending on the size of the organization and the number of people involved, literally hundreds or thousands of variables may impact the schedule.  

[Read After the Interview, What Is Taking SO Long? for details]

2.  Don’t assume that no news means bad news for you. Instead, practice positive thinking.

Given # 1, above, when you don’t hear from an employer within the specified time frame or on the expected day, don’t assume that all is lost!  At least, not yet! 

If you really want the job or feel it’s a good fit for you, practice patience, and do NOT give up!  Stay in touch, but don’t be an angry pest. 

Yes, common courtesy should mean that they are in touch with you in advance when they discover they are going to miss the deadline, but reality is that such communication seldom happens.  They don’t want to take the time, deal with the questions you may have about what happened, etc.  

So, the best thing to do is NOT expect perfect communications from the employer’s side of the process while doing your best to manage yourself and your expectations.

[For more, read How Often Should I Call After the Job Interview.]

3.  Don’t wait for an answer.  Instead, be practical about your job search.

While you are waiting for a call back, or even a job offer, from that favorite employer, don’t stop job hunting!  

Your job search is not over until you are holding a written job offer in your hand – an offer with the right salary, job title, and starting date.  Until then, you are still officially job hunting, so don’t hit the “pause” button on your job search while you wait to hear back from that employer.

[See After the Job Interview – Keep Interviewing and Keep Searching.]

DO – continue your job search!  

© Copyright, 2013, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.

More on Managing the Post-Job Interview Process:

12 Ways to Stay Sane After a Job Interview

What to Do When They Don’t Call Back After the Job Interview 

What to Do While You Are Waiting to Hear Back

After the Interview, What Is Taking SO Long?

How Often Should I Call After the Job Interview

After the Job Interview – Keep Interviewing and Keep Searching


About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been  observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then.  Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org.  Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .


  1. Dear Susan:
    Thank you so much for all the tips you’ve posted over the years. Your suggestions helped me land on my last job (which i loved) and I greatly appreciate your help. I’ve just been invited to a recruiting party (informal interview) to be held by an employer this week. I was told to dress casually and that drinks and snacks will be available since it is taking place in the evening. Since I’m applying for an accounting position, I’m unsure of what kind of interview questions to expect and whether “casual”=”business casual”. I’ve confirmed my attendance but I do not know who I’ll be meeting and number of candidates/interviewers. I’ve done quite a bit of research on the company, and I don’t know what else I should be doing other than preparing for behavior questions. Would you kindly help me out a little? Thank you again for your time as always.
    Yours truly,

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Emily,

      Thank you very much for the kind words! I’m sure much of the credit goes to Ronnie Ann, too.

      This is an interesting approach – a “recruiting party.” It will give you a chance to scope out the competition, which should also be interesting.

      I would assume business or business casual dress, but I think I’d err on the side of being too formal rather than too informal, particularly if it is held close to business hours when few people would have the opportunity to go home and “dress down” to their casual clothes. You could always say you just came from another business meeting, like a Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours or something similar, and didn’t have time to change.

      Preparing for behavioral questions sounds exactly right. Also, think about your answers to why you want to work there and why they should hire you, focusing on the benefits to them not to you, and including comments that reflect on your research into the organization.

      Good luck with this “party”! Hope all goes well for you!

      If you get a chance, let us know how it turns out.

      Good luck with your job search!

      • Hi Susan. Thank you so much for your suggestions. The recruiting party turn out great. I got a chance to meet my competition and I’m very glad that I was sort of overdressed because I noticed that a couple of people who were very casual sort of lost their confidence when they saw others wearing shirts and ties. One thing that I learned from this interview is that it is important to relax and be your true self. It could be really hard to relax when everyone in the room is judging everything about you, but I guess that’s something that comes with practice and being “natural” definitely makes a person seem more confident.
        Thank you once again, Susan, for your great advice. I hope to bring you good news in the near future and I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.
        Yours truly,

      • Susan P. Joyce says:

        Excellent, Emily! Very happy my advice was helpful!

        So very important to be yourself, as you say, AND to be judging them, too. It’s terrible to land a job in an organization you hate. Been there; done that – very painful!

        Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  2. All very wise words Susan – particularly regarding carrying on with your job search until you get a firm offer.

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