Interviews can be stressful but the waiting period after the interview can be even more stressful for some candidates. If the interview went very well and it seemed like all the interviewers were impressed, it can be frustrating to get radio silence for the next days or even weeks.
Sometimes, one of the interviewers is very responsive pre-interview and will go completely cold to any follow-up emails, other than a possible acknowledgement of the thank you email.
Side Note: When sending thank you emails to multiple members of the same team, add one reference to something discussed in that particular interview otherwise team members will compare and not feel special – employers are emotional people too
There are multiple reasons for this.
Staff have been instructed to not communicate
Even if the candidate will get an offer or is to be rejected, this must be conveyed at the right time by the proper channels. Rejections will usually come after offers as there may be waitlisted candidates (candidates who pass the interview bar but were not the best candidates), and some banks will never reject because it leaves them open for liability. There have been a multitude of examples where an automated rejection email comes 12 months after the interview.
Staff are too busy
Especially in times of heavy workflow, employees may see the popup on their Outlook that is a follow-up email and delete it without opening it because the inbox is already cluttered. Sometimes, staff do not want to spend 30 seconds constructing an eloquent/professional response free of liability.
Staff are uncomfortable with rejecting a candidate
Rejection is not an easy conversation to have over the phone, and while it is much less personable over email some people do not want to be the person who pulls the trigger.
How to read the absence of an offer or rejection
This depends on whether the hiring was done via a more structured process (on campus recruiting for soon-to-graduate university students) or a less structured process (off-cycle recruiting for experienced hires in the middle of the year).
If the position is via a structured hiring process, offers are usually sent out that evening or the next day.
Anything after that means that rejection is almost certain. In a less structured process, this is ambiguous because junior hires do not need to start right away (incremental workload can be spread between existing junior staff), the role may not have received budgetary approval yet, or a variety of other reasons.
Also, for less structured processes, if someone is unsure, candidates may be brought in for another final round. We have heard of a candidate who received 5 final rounds before not getting the job. Too bad.
What to do if there is no response from the interviewer
Our philosophy is that the moment that a candidate steps out of the interview room, they should assume that they did not get the job and must continue the job search. This help to temper expectations and make sure the candidate is fresh when the next interview comes if this one does not work out.
Also, there should be 15 minutes of self-reflection following the interview. None of the self-reflection should pertain to what went well during the interview, but any particular parts of the conversation where the candidate did not do well and how similar situations would be handled optimally and on a go forward basis.