The big job interview you’ve been prepping for and stressing over for days or weeks is over, and you can finally breathe a sigh of relief — except now comes the hard part: Waiting to hear back.
You’re excited about the opportunity, and you want to do everything in your power to present yourself as the perfect candidate for the job; one way to increase your odds of landing the gig is to follow up in a professional manner.
Landing your dream job requires a degree of finesse, from the initial email or phone conversation to negotiating salary and signing on the dotted line. In the post-interview aftermath, you want to appear interested without crossing the line and coming across as a pest. You want to be memorable in the right way; so what does this entail?
Below, recruiting experts share their insights on the dos and don’ts when following up after a job interview.
1. Yes, You Should Follow Up
Following up is critical in showing your continued interest in a job opportunity, a job and career site where employees anonymously post the pros and cons of their companies, positions and salaries.
Willoughby cautions candidates against becoming a burden to the hiring manager — politeness is very important.
You don’t want to pester until you get an answer, but rather keep yourself in [the hiring team's] minds as they make the decision. A great approach is to ask about their timeline for making a hiring decision before you leave the interview. This will help you to properly time your follow-up attempts. In addition, a quick ‘thank you’ [email] is always a nice touch.
Another way to stand out in your follow-up communications is to mention recent news about the company to show that you’re keeping the job opportunity top-of-mind. This tidbit could be in regards to a blog post, industry news or something related to the job you interviewed for — it goes without saying that the news should be positive in nature; don’t send over a note with a mention of a company scandal.
2. Communicate in a Timely, Professional Manner
There’s nothing wrong with sending a gracious thank-you message, unless the recruiter explicitly states no follow-ups or replies.
We also suggest using the last form of communication that you had with a recruiter as the best medium for following up (i.e. phone, email, text, mail, etc.). Go with that medium, or follow whatever instructions have been given to you. Email is always a safe bet, but always contact recruiters through their business accounts. Personal email accounts and phone numbers are for personal friends, and trying to reach [hiring managers] at home can be an awfully quick turnoff.
3. Tastefully Follow Up When You Haven’t Heard Back
In a situation in which the company says they will make a decision next week, and a week goes by without any word after you’ve sent an initial follow-up note, it’s okay to send one more polite inquiry.
If you’re following up multiple times after each interview, that’s likely not appreciated. However, if the company has given you a set time frame and exceeded it by longer than a week, a well-written follow-up note is reasonable. It should be concise and friendly. Don’t necessarily remind them that they haven’t gotten back to you, but rather use the time frame provided as the reason for your follow up. Willoughby suggests wording your message along the lines of, “I know you mentioned you were hoping to make a final hiring decision by the end of the month, and I wanted to follow up and see where you are in that process.”
4. Learn When to Move On
If you’ve been waiting patiently for a reply from the company and they still haven’t responded, there’s a point when you have to move on — even if you really like the company and want the job. But we should remind job seekers that focusing on other opportunities is the best way to move forward. “Don’t take it personally; just move along. You never know what is happening internally at a company. Follow up once, and if you receive no response, follow up once more. If you still don’t hear anything, move on.
Fields adds that company time frames can be tricky to predict, and candidates should take encouraging comments during an interview with a grain of salt. Workplace emergencies happen unexpectedly and all the time, so it’s important to follow up a couple of times. But if you hear absolutely nothing, then it’s time to move on. Some interviewers are complimentary to avoid confrontation; they tell you what you want to hear. Sometimes it’s genuine, but there is no way for you to tell. If the company wants to hire you, they will contact you, whether it happens a week later, a month later or even several months later.
5. Don’t Make Assumptions With References
A request for references doesn’t necessarily mean that the job is in the bag. It’s a good rule of thumb throughout the hiring process to never assume anything.
Being asked to supply references is a good sign that you are in the top two or three candidates, but it’s no guarantee of employment.
The ultimate goal in any job search is to receive multiple offers so that you, as the candidate, can choose the best one. Creating a strategy to follow up after interviews is just as important as the actual interview itself.