How Long Between the Interview and a Job Offer?

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Employers Report a Four-Week Window Between Job Interview and Offer

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
February 20, 2013

How long can a college student expect to wait for a job offer after an interview? And, after an offer is extended, how long will he or she have to accept or reject it?

NACE's 2012 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey found that, on average, employers hiring new college graduates take 24.2 business days to extend an offer to a college student after an interview. Once an offer has been extended, employers then give a candidate an average of 14.1 business days to make a decision.

The average interview-to-offer cycle time in the 2012 survey is consistent with that from previous years. From 2008 to 2012, the average time from interview to offer ranged from a low of 22.2 days (2008) to a high of 25 days (2009). (See Figure 1.)

There are significant differences in interview-to-offer cycle times across industries. For example:

  • Government agencies have one of the longer interview-to-offer cycles with a 38-day average. Employers in other industries--such as recreation and hospitality (39.5 days), engineering services (30.3 days), and construction (30 days)--have similar time frames.
  • In contrast, recruiters from computer and electronics manufacturers (16 days), accounting services (17 days), and miscellaneous business services (17.5 days) take an average of fewer than 18 days to deliver their offers.

Once an offer is extended, employers responding to the survey give candidates an average of 14.1 business days to accept or reject a job offer. While, the average time from offer to acceptance is similar for most employers regardless of size or regional location, the industry it's in does make a difference.

Only miscellaneous business services (20.5 days) gives its recruits more than 20 business days to respond. By contrast, there are several industry groups--engineering services (6.1 days), recreation and hospitality (8.8 days), and utilities (9.3 days)--in which the average offer-to-acceptance cycle is less than 10 days.

Figure 1: Time from interview to offer in days (2008-12)
Time from Interview to Offer in Days 2008-12
Source: 2012 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers 

NACE's 2012 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey was conducted June 15 through August 15, 2012; 242 employer-member organizations took part.

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