How to Respond When They Tell You “We’ll Get Back to You”

“We’ll Get Back to You…” Most of us have heard the Zuckerbergian response far too many times. It’s become a household phrase in the world of recruiting. And although most of us would like to see it go, it refuses to give in.

No matter how outstanding was your job interview, you will still get to hear these few words before leaving the room. Recruiters use this vague, neutral language pretty often and it’s something you can almost never avoid.

So, what can these words signal to you and how should you react to them?

Let’s have a look.

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What does “we’ll get back to you” even mean?

The ambiguous answer does not mean either that ‘You are rejected’ or ‘You are selected’. Many of us get confused because it is infused with so many potential meanings that it just makes your head spin. More so if all the body language you can read is a hiring manager’s poker face.

Let’s try to decode what these guys may have in their minds while talking to you:

  • “There are some other candidates we need to consider. If they are not as qualified or as experienced as you then we will get back to you.”
  • “I don’t have the answer right now. I need to talk to someone before giving you the answer. Only then will I get back to you.”
  • “Unfortunately, you’re not quite eligible for this position. Still, I won’t say anything right now because it’s not good manners to say so. That’s why I need to use: I will get back to you.”

The first two of them give you some hope, which is great.

So don’t worry, there’s no need to despair. This answer is not the end of your job prospects. On the contrary, it can as well be the next step towards getting you a job.

Best practices

It’s also good to have a an idea of how recruiting works. The hiring process in most of the companies is actually pretty complicated. All the communication between you and your potential employer is usually handled by the HR department.

So it’s only reasonable if you expect to get a callback from the hiring manager. But what if you don’t? get back to you

1. Try to prevent the situation in the first place

Before you leave the interview, ask about next steps and the decision timeline.

Try to get an exact date or date range from the interviewer. Ask directly: “When can I expect to hear back about this position?”

This will put your mind to rest by giving you an idea of when you can expect to hear something. It will also give you a timeframe for following up appropriately without getting too pushy.

2. Take initiative.

If you’re waiting for a response, sometimes the best choice is to be bold.

Considering you’ve sent a thank-you note some time ago, the next step is to call the HR department.

Let them know about your continuing interest in the position and that you are eager to hear back. Without being too pushy, ask what the status of the position is.

Be prepared to get no clear response as they may not be able to address this. However, they may be able to provide you with a progress update or ask for more information from you.

It’s also a good idea to connect with employers at your prospective organisation via LinkedIn or other social networks to see if you can learn more through networking.

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3. Show dedication

Yes, it’s important to follow up and stay on the company’s radar. But discretion always comes first.

Feel free to call for a status update, but be consistent with just one method of communication. Calling, emailing and mailing at the same time — that can send the wrong message and put them off for good. If you want to use voicemail, leave a short, courteous message to keep things professional.

You need to stay reasonable, though. If it’s been over a month since you’ve heard anything, there’s no point in beating a dead horse.

The truth is that you have no control over the recruiting process and the entire situation is in someone else’s hands. But don’t let this cripple an otherwise successful job search.

Take the time you need, shed your frustration and move on towards the next opportunity. It might be waiting around the corner!

3. Be patient

Remember that the lukewarm response doesn’t always equal rejection. Accept the fact that some information can’t be shared right away.

The company needs to fill the position but their timeline is often much looser than yours. You may be the winner, but they still need to wait to make an official offer due to the final approval or some bureaucratic jungle.

In these cases, the best course of action is to wait it out for at least a week.get back to you

Always keep pushing forward

Waiting is a real beast. Your spirits are low and you have no clue what may be happening in the meantime. 

You can even feel tempted to put your search on hold. But nothing could be worse.

Don’t let your demons run loose. Take heart and keep pushing forward. Success never comes easy, and definitely not to those do nothing but wait around for the phone to ring.


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