Five minutes after an interview ends, most candidates start to feel the first twitches of impatience and urgency. At this point, employers have almost all of the information they need in order to make a decision, and that decision—positive or negative– can help the candidate move forward and start planning her next moves. So the sooner it happens, the better.

But what should you do if your interview is followed by several days of silence? And what if those days turn into weeks? As a candidate, should you expect a speedy response as a matter of standard courtesy? If your employers delay the decision, should you consider this a red flag? And most important: Should you simply pick up the phone and request a response? Here are a few things to keep in mind before you insist on an answer.

What time of year is this?

Interviews are often scheduled during periods of high demand; in other words, employers are usually looking for new recruits during the same weeks and months that new orders are pouring in and current employees are overworked and overloaded. Interviews may also happen during the quietest times of the year, which may occur during the overlapping vacations of the holiday season and the summer. If either scenario may be taking place—a spike in activity or a lull—prepare to be patient. Leave polite voicemail and email reminders, but don’t expect an immediate response to either one.

What clues did you glean about this process during the interview?

Did your interviewer mention that you were one of 15 candidates? Or one of three? Did she mention that this selection process would involve three or four more rounds of interviews, or did she suggest that the next step would be a final decision? Did she mention a pending background or reference check? Keep in mind that some checks can take weeks to complete.

How many times have you already called?

If you’ve been given a timeline, don’t reach out to the company again until the timeline has elapsed. For example, if the HR director told you that you’d receive an answer within two weeks, don’t call and ask for one in three days. Wait until two weeks have elapsed. If you haven’t been given a timeline, contact the company once a week for a job you’re merely considering. If you want this job very badly, call (or email) the employer every three days.

For more on how to proceed after the interview but before the final offer, reach out to the staffing and job search team at Expert Staffing.

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