How to Follow Up After Job Interviews
You’ve had the interview and now you’re waiting anxiously by the phone. However, drumming your fingers by the phone won’t get you a job offer so how do you proceed once the interview is over?
Write a thank you note.
First, distract yourself by sitting down and writing a thank-you note to each and every person with whom you interviewed. In this job market, which often demands several interviews – by phone and in person – this might keep you busy for a while.
There are two standard thank you note formats:
- An informal handwritten note, send by mail
- 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 risqué. Open the card and on the inside handwrite:
Thank you very much for the interview today. In reviewing the opportunity with [name of company], I feel confident that I would be a great fit for the position. In closing, let me say that no matter how many people you interview, what their education or experience is, you won’t find anyone who wants to work for you more than I do.
Very truly yours,
For other suggested wording, see Quintessential Careers sample thank-you letters.
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.
You can use the same verbiage for each of your interviewers. It is also fine to email notes to each; it’s faster than snail mail and saves on stamps. See more about emailing thank-you notes in our Quintessential Careers article, FAQs about 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 date the hiring manager indicated has come and gone, it’s time to follow up.
“Hi, Barbara. I interviewed with you on Monday for the XXX position. I thought I’d follow-up with you since mentioned you might have a decision by Thursday. How is your decision process going?”
Three things might happen here:
- You will that you either you did or did not get the job
- They will respond to let you know the process is on-going
- They may not respond at all.
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.
Good Afternoon, Dave:
Thanks again for the great interview. I just wanted you to know that I am still very interested in this opportunity with [name of company]. Please call or email me with an update on your hiring process at your earliest convenience.
If you are in a more relaxed profession (e.g., accounting), I would wait seven 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 being a pest.
If you get no response to your follow-up email – and sadly, many companies follow up with candidates when they’ve made a hiring decision unless you’re the one they’re hiring – send a second follow-up and then give up . If no one returns your emails or voice mails 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.
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