Waiting to hear from employers? Our 6 tips to staying patient and why your application is taking so long

You might have spent lots of time developing your application skills and now… it’s just time to wait. When you’re waiting to hear back from recruiters, many feel stressed or anxious. Caroline Lindner, Career Consultant talks about developing patience and what to do during the ‘waiting period’.

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You will get there – but for some of us it just takes longer

We’ve all heard about that high-flying student who attended open days in their first year, secured numerous internships in their second year, and accepted a place on their graduate scheme of choice, all before graduation.  Their journey from degree to career appears to have been smooth.  Sound familiar?

For some people, this does happen.  But, in our experience, it’s much more usual for students to experience rejection (often for the first time), feel frustrated and, let’s be honest, lose faith when going through complicated assessment processes.  That’s the reality and it’s okay. As a careers service, we are committed to supporting you to feel more positive and build resilience as you navigate your career steps.


Common reasons why recruiters aren’t responding to your application

But what about from the recruiters’ side of things?  Why can it take some organisations a long time to respond to an application?  After all, you’ve spent hours researching, drafting and editing your CV and/or application form to demonstrate your motivation, commitment, interest in the sector and outline your transferable skills.

  1. Amount of applications. Most graduate employers receive large numbers of applications each year, for multiple vacancies. As lots of students apply on or just before the deadline, it’s not uncommon for employers to start the review process when it has passed. (psst- read more about why you should prep & send your application in early on our KEATS!)
  2. The review process can take time. For example, in some organisations representatives of senior leadership will review short-listed applications and make the final decision. Senior people are usually busy people.  They are also recruiting on behalf of their organisation, and will want to make the right decisions – so you can understand why they might want to take their time to choose the right candidate.
  3. Small teams. Contrary to what you may assume, HR and graduate recruitment teams tend to be small and exceptionally busy.As well as hundreds of applications, HR and graduate recruitment teams will also receive a high volume of emails from students. It may take a while to respond to your email.
  4. Image of a woman holding a mug that reads "like a boss"
    Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

    Lots of stages. Selection processes may include several stages, including psychometric tests, video interviews, and written exercises. These stages will need to conclude before invitations to the final interview stage can be extended.


What to do if you’re waiting to hear back from an application


1) Be patient.

Once you have submitted your application, the control has passed to the employer.  It can take anywhere from around a week to sometimes even 6 weeks for you to hear back. Some selection processes can take 3-4 months, from start to finish.


2) Don’t be ‘that’ person.

It can be very tempting to chase the employer for a decision, particularly if you haven’t heard anything for a while.  Remember that every interaction with an employer reflects on your personal brand.  If in doubt, discuss your concerns with a Careers Consultant.


3) Accept what can’t be helped

Accept that you may not receive a reason for your rejection at the application stage. If this is the firm’s policy, you need to respect and accept it.


5) Seek support

Lean on your support network, particularly when you are feeling deflated. As well as friends and family, don’t forget you have support with King’s. The Careers & Employability team are here to provide a neutral sounding board and support you through your journey.


5) Keep trying!

Remember: tenacity is an attribute of a good professional, whatever field you are going into. Rejection can also give you the opportunity to mature by learning from your mistakes and applying what you learn in your next application or interview. You will be more resilient than you realise.


Bonus: Didn’t succeed at your interview? Always ask for feedback

Ask for feedback if you reached the interview stage. As difficult as it may be to hear, comments from interviewers will help you to identify where you might have been going wrong. You can use this feedback constructively to ensure you won’t make the same mistake twice.