It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: you reformatted your resume, secured your references, and composed a genuine and constructive cover letter.
You managed to make it past the first round of applicant evaluation and were offered an interview; you presented yourself with professional mastery and impressed your potential employer. After all of this, you were offered a job!
The only problem is, after offering you the position, you haven’t heard anything from the HR department about what to do next.
If HR does not respond after offering the position, you should re-express your interest to your contact and ask for an update on the status of the process. In the vast majority of cases, these delays are due to organizational reasons on the company’s part.
A variety of strategies can help to smooth out the situation and streamline starting your new position.
How Long Does It Take to Be Notified About a Job Offer?
Depending on the level of the position (entry level, senior level, etc.), the time it takes to complete the application process from applying for a position to being offered a position can typically take anywhere from 8 weeks to 6 months. 
Aside from the competitiveness relative to how many positions are available and how many people are applying (the more senior the position, the greater the applicant-to-position ratio), HR managers need to ensure that the candidate is a good fit.
If you’ve made it to the interview round, you are probably not alone, and each applicant is being interviewed to ensure that their credentials match their performance and that their persona matches company expectations.
Even if you feel that you excelled in your interview, most HR managers are going to finish the interviewing rounds to ensure that they’ve properly considered all candidates.
Once that portion of the application process is complete, HR managers will begin to reach out to the preferred candidates regarding a job offer. Even though a job is being offered, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the process is going to be streamlined.
After the interview phase, employers will also investigate candidates’ backgrounds (criminal history and sometimes credit history) as well as personal references. 
If everything looks good, employers will then proceed to make a formal job offer to their preferred candidate.
What Happens After You’ve Been Offered a Job?
Most often, job applicants will receive an email or even a phone call as an informal confirmation of a job offer. This is done so that employers will not waste time with a formal letter and begin the onboarding process if a candidate ends up declining the position.
Only when a candidate indicates interest in the informal offer will an employer typically extend a formal job offer while also providing onboarding information to prepare the candidate for beginning to work for the organization.
This whole process can be done in a few days or take a couple of weeks depending on how long it takes for a candidate to respond and whether there are any internal considerations with the company that may interfere with the hiring process.
What Do You Do If HR Doesn’t Reply After Offering a Job?
When determining what to do if HR doesn’t reply after offering a job, you have to take into consideration the volatility of each company. Here are a few scenarios and how you can respond.
1. Informal Offers
If you’ve received an informal offer for a position, you have to first indicate that you are interested in the position to continue the hiring process.
The longer it takes for you to respond to a job offer, the greater the delay will be in starting your new position. If you’re trying to start as soon as possible, then make sure to respond quickly to whatever means of contact you’ve received.
It’s okay to take a day to confirm your decision, but when you have, make sure to call your employer or send an email indicating your interest in the position; it’s generally best to use the same means that they used to contact you.
When you decide to accept the position, you can simply say:
“Thank you very much for contacting me about this job offer, and I would like to accept this job offer with your company.”
It’s a simple confirmation and indicates your interest in finalizing the hiring process. Make sure that your response clearly indicates that you want to start with the company, as anything else may indicate that you are still making up your mind or uncertain about the position.
Because employers are trying to fill positions as quickly as possible, any delays or confusion may cause employers to begin contacting other candidates that were ranked lower than you, which would then delay the hiring process and could potentially exclude you from this position.
2. Organizational Reasons of the Company
If you’ve indicated your interest based on the informal job offer and you still haven’t heard back from HR, this could be due to a variety of reasons. First, the larger the company is, the more people will be involved and the longer it will take to communicate between different divisions.
There may have been an error in the financial department that reduces the funding for your position, which could change the salary level or eliminate the position entirely.
There may be someone who needs to approve the next round of the hiring process who is temporarily absent, retired, left their position, or was removed.
Until a replacement is found, this may indefinitely delay the hiring process or someone else may need to be found that can approve your hiring.
If you’ve been offered an informal offer for a position and there is a substantial delay in further contact (Ex. more than 1-2 weeks), reach out to the company to assess what the situation is.
Sending an email confirming your interest and politely asking for clearer details on the timeline of the hiring process can ease your woes while keeping you in the loop.
You can write something like:
“Thanks again for offering me a position. I’m really excited to start and was wondering what the timeline is for my start date. If you need any other information, please let me know.”
This contact confirms your interest while also politely requesting further clarification on what is happening with the hiring process.
Chances are if the company is interested in you and the position is still available, they will contact you and clarify the situation while providing clearer details on the next steps and the overall timeline of the hiring process.
3. Restate Your Interest in the Position
As noted, the position you applied for may not be there after the many weeks or months of the job application process. This could be because of company restructuring, mergers, or financial issues that reduce funding for the position.
In some instances, hiring managers may actually offer informal offers to multiple candidates or change their minds and extend a formal job offer to another candidate who they contacted for an informal job offer.
Likewise, permanent personnel shifts, rather than temporary deviations as noted above, may cause the position to be unavailable given other hiring precedents. In the world of business, anything can happen, especially human error!
If you’ve contacted the employer with an email and it’s been at least a week, then feel free to make one phone call to the point of contact offered in your informal offer. Calmly and clearly restate your interest in the position while asking for clarification on the hiring process.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to talk to an actual person, but if not, then just leave a message.
“Hi, I just wanted to confirm my interest in the position and clarify what the next stages of the hiring process will be.”
This message indicates your interest as well as your urgency and will prompt a hiring manager to contact you to clarify the situation if the position is still available and you remain the candidate to fill it.
If a week or more goes by from calling someone or leaving a message, then there’s a possibility that the position is not available.
4. Ask for the Current Status of Processing
It is much rarer that a company will retract a formal job offer given that they’ve taken the time to go through each of the other stages of the hiring process. That being said, even after being formally offered a position, there could still be a delay in the hiring process.
If you’ve indicated your interest in the position and have submitted your interest and subsequent information relative to the onboarding process, you should hear back from HR within a week.
If you haven’t heard back within a week, feel free to send an email inquiring about the cause of any potential delays.
Feel free to say something such as:
“Hi, I hope you are well. I just wanted to make sure that I submitted everything correctly. Please let me know if you need anything else and when I should expect to start working.”
This indicates your concern for starting the position in a constructive way.
Suppose for whatever reason, you haven’t heard back after a week or two. In that case, there is a high probability that something has happened internally with the company and the position is no longer available. Usually, you will get a reply from the HR department indicating any changes to the position status, but sometimes you will not.
If you’ve waited for at least 2 weeks, you’ve emailed the company, and you haven’t heard anything, then it’s probably time to move on from this position.
Hopefully, though, any delays are simply the result of personnel coordination complications. Most often, delays in hiring are simply the result of company structure and not an indication of your performance.
With a positive attitude, some patience, and persistence, you are sure that you’ll finally get a reply that will be the beginning of your new career.
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.