How Soon Should You Follow Up After a Job Interview?

How Soon You Should Follow Up After a Job Interview?

So you’ve had your interview, and you think it went pretty well. That’s great! But your work isn’t done. You’ll need to take the initiative to follow up after your interview. It’s an important step to show a hiring manager that you’re still interested, understand the company’s needs, and hopefully, close the deal. Below are some suggestions for timing your follow-up communications. 

Before You Leave the Interview...

There are two questions you need answered before you leave the interview. Trying to follow up without answers to these questions can make your work very frustrating. First, ask what the next steps in the recruiting process are, and then ease into asking when they plan on making the final decision. Now you have a date for when you can expect to hear back from the employer.

But of course, timelines slip and priorities change, and hiring managers don’t always follow up when they say they will. So you’ll need to ask this next question: “Can I follow up with you if I don’t hear back by the stated date?”

Asking these questions makes it clear when you should follow up, and you have the hiring manager’s permission to do so if you don’t hear back. If for some reason you forget to ask these questions, you should plan to follow up two weeks after the interview.

One last thing: if you interviewed with multiple people, ask for their business cards, or ask the hiring manager—or whoever leads you out— for the email addresses of your interviewers. More on why below.

Follow up With a Thank-You Note

Thank-you notes aren’t dead yet! Many employers expect to receive one. 22 percent of hiring managers are less likely to hire a job candidate if they don’t send a thank-you note post-interview, because they feel it shows a lack of not only follow-through, but interest in the job. Here’s your chance to stand out.

Plan to send a thank-you note 24 to 48 hours after your interview. It’s not just simple politeness, but a good chance to show the company that you are interested in the job and the company. And if you interviewed with multiple people, each one deserves a personalized message. In your brief email, thank the interviewer for their time and add a sentence or two about why you enjoyed the interview, why you are interested in the job, and why you’re the best person for the job.

Sending a thank-you note also provides proof of your writing skills and gets you in front of the interviewer one more time. To go one step further and really add a personal touch, consider sending a thank-you note through snail mail (in addition to a thank-you note via email). The content of your snail mail thank-you note should be slightly different from your email thank-you note. It can be a neatly handwritten message, or if you don’t have the best handwriting, type it out and hit print. Someone may delete an email (or it could end up in their Spam folder), but they’re less likely to ignore a piece of mail that lands on their desk.

If You Haven’t Heard Back...

If you haven’t heard anything within the expected timeframe (which is common), it’s okay to check in. In fact, some hiring managers expect you to follow up to prove your interest in the job. Your email should be polite, respectful, and brief. For instance, you might say, “I just wanted to follow up and see where you were in the decision making process.”

This is also a great opportunity to re-express interest in the position. If you don’t hear back from the company, don’t give up. No response from an employer doesn’t always mean they aren’t interested. It only means they haven’t responded. If this is a job you are truly interested in, wait an additional two weeks and send another email. Your goal is to be persistent and professional, not annoying.

Don’t Put Your Job Search On Hold!

Here’s a distinct possibility: you might not hear back from an employer until much later than expected. It’s also possible you might not hear back at all, in which case it’s definitely time to move on.

The bottom line is that you should never stop looking for a new job! While you’re waiting for a response from a company post-interview, be sure to continue sending out resumes, scheduling interviews, and networking to find other possible jobs. Never put all your eggs in just one basket!

 

What you do after the interview can be almost as important as the interview itself. Follow these tips and keep yourself in the running. And if you haven’t had the interview yet, check out our Interview Tips for advice on making an impression and winning the job! 

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About the Author

Hannah Morgan

Hannah Morgan is the founder of CareerSherpa.net. She is also a widely recognized speaker on job search topics, and the author of The Infographic Resume (McGraw Hill Education, 2014).

Hannah’s experiences in human resources, outplacement services, workforce development, and career services have equipped her with a 360-degree perspective on what it takes to land a job in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing employment landscape. Recognized by media and career professionals as an advocate for job seekers, Hannah speaks and writes regularly about using social media, personal branding, and other advanced strategies to help job seekers take control of their job search. She is frequently quoted in local and national publications, and writes a weekly column for U.S. News & World Report. Hannah is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University.

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