So you’ve had the interview, and now you’re (anxiously) awaiting a call from the company. However, drumming your fingers in anticipation won’t get you a job offer, so how do you proceed once the interview is over? Below, you’ll find advice on how to follow up after job interviews.
Write a Thank You Note
First, sit down and write a thank you note to each and every person with whom you interviewed. There are two standard thank you note formats:
1. An informal, handwritten note, sent by snail mail
2. An email thank you note
If you choose to send a handwritten note, send it within a day of the interview on a plain card with a simple, classic design. Veer away from anything too flashy, too cute, or potentially risque. Open the card, and on the inside hand write something along these lines:
Dear [Interviewer’s Name],
Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me on [Interview Date]. In reviewing the opportunity with [Company Name], I feel confident in stating that I would be a great fit for the position. I look forward to hearing more!
For other suggested wording, see LiveCareer’s thank you letter samples.
For those of you who don’t have great penmanship, type your note, or have someone with neat penmanship write the note out for you.
Sending thank you notes via email is faster and more in line with the communication norms of today. You can use the same sample thank you note above for an email. See more about emailing thank-you notes in the LiveCareer article FAQs About Job-Seeker Thank You Letters.
How and When to Follow Up
Usually, a hiring manager will give you an idea of when the company plans to make a decision about hiring. Never follow up before that date. However, if you’ve sent the thank you notes, and the decision date the hiring manager indicated has come and gone, it’s time to follow up.
If your phone’s not ringing with an offer, wait at least a week and then send a follow-up email, using a version of the following:
Hi [Hiring Manager’s Name],
I interviewed with you on [Interview Date] for the [Position Name]. I thought I’d follow up with you since mentioned a decision would be reached by [Hiring Decision Date]. Whenever you find time, could you provide an update on where things stand in regards to reaching a hiring decision?
Thank you so much.
Three things might happen here:
1. You will receive a response that you either did or did not get the job
2. You will receive a response that a decision has not been made yet
3. You will not receive a response
If you did get the job, congratulations. If you didn’t get the job, just brush yourself off and get back in the saddle. The right job is still out there.
If the hiring process is still underway, and you are in an aggressive profession (such as Sales), you are almost expected to prove your aggressiveness by reaching out every two to three days (unless told to wait) to find out how the decision is progressing. Do you call each time? No, sending email is a better approach. For example:
Hi [Person’s Name],
Thanks again for the great interview on [Interview Date]. I just wanted you to know that I am still very interested in the [Position Name] at [Company Name]. If you could please call or email me with an update on your hiring process at your earliest convenience, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much!
If you are in a more relaxed profession (for example, Accounting), it’s best to wait around five business days after your last contact to call or email again. Why? Accounting is not as pushy as sales, and therefore to apply sales pressure might frighten off your boss-to-be.
Balance the aggressiveness of your follow-up with the field you are in; the more aggressive the job, the more aggressive your approach should be in following up.
Always be professional and also always be courteous but show your enthusiasm. You want this job; there is no shame in showing your interest as long as it doesn’t cross the line into anxious, obnoxious pestiness.
If no one returns your follow-up email(s) after several weeks, presume that there will be no offer. If the hiring company were interested, your contacts would be picking up the phone. Keep hunting. The right job will come.
Have questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Have you taken advantage of all of our job interviewing resources? Find articles, tutorials, and more — all written to help job-seekers learn how to succeed in all types of job interviews.
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