The standard time it takes to offer a job after your interview can vary significantly by industry and company. In retail, for instance, you often know moments after the interview whether you have the job. In many other public and private employment settings, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get the official word.
In retail settings, hiring managers don't typically face some of the lengthy behind-the-scenes processes that exist in many office settings. A manager can often make a fairly quick decision in hiring a front line sales and service employee. Plus, when you apply for a retail job, you aren't necessarily competing against other people as much as you are competing against the standards and expectations of the employer. If you have the right background and qualities, a store manager typically wants to get you going right away.
In other situations, you may have an interview and get a call within a few days. In some cases, the manager or hiring committee must meet with multiple candidates and hold meetings to evaluate their relative scores for each one. Sometimes, a hiring manager calls to let you know you have been "recommended" for the position. This message normally means the hiring manager or committee likes you, but the offer of employment hinges on successful background and reference checks.
Some hiring managers won't even call with an offer until all the leg work is complete. You normally hear this at the time of the interview. Proper etiquette dictates that the hiring manager let you know the estimated timeline and whether you can expect a call either way. Sometimes, managers have trips or significant projects shortly after the interviews, which can delay the call. They may tell you this or it may unexpectedly delay things.
When to Call
In some cases, it is okay to follow up on your interview with a phone call. Generally, it is best to wait until after the point at which you were told to expect a call. In retail or if you were told the decision comes quickly, you should call within a few days because the manager might have simply gotten busy. If you haven't heard from a manager and it is beyond the suggested timeline, a friendly call to check on when the final decision would come can help you get an update on your status.