The past twelve months have been tough for anyone trying to find a new job. Layoffs have made the job scene more and more competitive and there are many stories of people who receive dozens or hundreds of rejection letters.
Perhaps the hardest part is waiting. You've had the interview, you thought it went well and you can't wait to hear back. But when weeks go by and you hear nothing, your confidence probably drops a little.
So, what's the secret of those people who seem to land a job quickly? Is it because they're star candidates or know the secrets of great interviews?
Not necessarily. There is another approach that can work and one that employers like. It's following up your interview in the right way.
Not following up in a way that makes you sound desperate, but following up in a way that creates a positive impression and shows that you are keen — and efficient.
Understand the employer
In this article, we'll look at what it takes to follow up in the right way but first, just step back and look at the situation from the employer's point of view. After all, they are as keen as you to find the right candidate. That process is not easy and it can take time.
In the current labor market, with so many people looking for jobs, any employer is going to receive a lot of applications. And, even after they've discounted the unsuitable applicants, they're likely to be looking at some good candidates.
Interviews take time to schedule and complete and so do the evaluation and background checks afterwards. There's a lot to consider when it comes to employing staff, so keep that in mind when you're trying to figure out when to follow up.
A good employer will likely give you an indication of when they'll aim to let you know their decision. But, that's not a guaranteed date and they may be finding it tough to make the final choice.
Make initial follow-up
Keeping that in mind, a good starting point for following up is the date the employer gave you. But, don't try to make contact immediately. Assume they haven't made a final decision and wait a few more days.
At that point, it's perfectly reasonable to ask for an update. You can either make contact by mail or email.
Your main message should be simple and to the point.
"It was great to meet you at the interview and thank you for considering my application for [POSITION]. You said that you hoped to let me know by [DATE].
I was wondering if you have made a final decision. I look forward to hearing from you."
That's a straightforward request. It shows that you continue to be interested in the job and it gives the employer time to consider their response.
In some cases, following up with a phone call might also be an option. However, use this method only if the hiring manager invited you to call and provided you with a number. A phone call is often a more personal touch, and can put you ahead of your competitors. If the hiring manager was enthusiastic about your interview performance and offered you the phone number, go ahead and use it.
Provide more information
If the employer replies that they haven't made a final decision, you can respond again, offering to provide further information.
"Thank you for letting me know the position. I understand that you need time to make the right choice and I look forward to hearing from you when you are ready.
I thought it might be helpful to give you some additional information that we didn't have time to discuss at the interview. I've been giving the job a lot of thought and wanted to let you know about other qualifications and experience that could be relevant and important for the role as you described it."
This type of follow-up is useful because it opens further dialog with the employer — and shows that you are willing to go the extra mile. By pointing out that you have been thinking more deeply about the job, it also shows that you are a serious candidate.
Keep the employer informed
What happens if your circumstances change while you are waiting for a decision? Maybe you've had another offer.
It's important to let the employer know, if you have decided to take the other job. Or inform them of an employment offer, but you prefer to join their team. In this situation, you are seeking a firm timeline on a decision, because you will need to accept or reject the offer in hand.
"Thank you for continuing to consider my application for [POSITION]. Since I was last in contact, I have received an offer from another company and have decided to accept it.
I wanted to let you know so that you don't need to spend any further time on my application and I wanted to thank you for considering me as a candidate."
"Thank you for continuing to consider my application for [POSITION]. Since I was last in contact, I have received an offer from another company for the role of [OFFERED POSITION]. This is a senior role, leading a department, and I feel privileged to be considered.
However, I would prefer to take your job if you decide to select me as a [POSITION] at [COMPANY] would enable me to follow my desired career path and gain valuable experience from the experts in [INDUSTRY] field.
So I wanted to ask if you are close to making a decision as I need to let the other company know my decision within seven days. I would appreciate it if you could let me know the current situation. Would it be possible for you to get back to me by [DATE]?Thank you for your understanding. I look forward to hearing from you"
The first answer is a polite response that shows you are responsible and don't want to waste the employer's time. The second raises your credentials, showing that you really are keen on that job. The fact that you have another offer also shows that you are a candidate in demand and that will give the employer more confidence in your ability.
Use rejection to your advantage
What happens if after all that patient waiting you don't get the job you really wanted? Do you just move on to the next opportunity or should you put a marker down for future opportunities?
Either way, thank the employer for considering you.
"Thank you for letting me know your decision. I'm disappointed not to be selected because the job offered really great career opportunities.
I would like to keep in contact with your company and, if there are further openings in the future, I would like to be considered for the position."
This response shows that you retain interest in the company as a potential employer and that can give you a head start if another position comes available. The employer knows your abilities and recognizes that you are keen. That should help fast-track your future application.