|  September 28, 2012

Tips for following up appropriately after an interview

So you went in for an interview and you think you nailed it! What’s next?  Following up appropriately after an interview is so important.  You want to remind the company that you’re super interested without coming off as overly-agressive.  Here are some tips for following up:

  • Ask about the preferred method of follow-up (during your interview): I love Lindsey Pollak’s tip about “taking the guesswork out of follow up”.  At the end of your interview, ask your interviewer about next steps and their preference for following up.  Whatever they suggest (email, phone, checking status online, asking someone else) follow that protocol.
  • Write thank you notes: Whether it’s by email, snail mail, Paperless Post, or any other avenue, always send a thank you note. Try to do it either same day or the next day while the interview is still fresh in your mind (and your interviewers mind!)  Make it personal, thoughtful and enthusiastic… and check out our tips here on crafting a great thank you note.

Image courtesy of Paperless Post

  • Play the waiting game: Be patient.  If you don’t hear anything for a few days, it doesn’t mean the world is falling apart and you’re out of the running.  It probably means they are in the process of interviewing additional candidates and comparing the pool.  If you have other offers or time-sensitive decisions you need to make, always inform your recruiter and interviewer so they know time is “of the essence”.  Otherwise, give it a week.
  • Wait a week, and then check in:  After a week, it may be a good time to check back in.  Email would be my suggested way of doing this since a phone call may put someone on the spot before they are ready to give you an update.  When you check in remember to reiterate how interested you are and ask if there is any additional information you can provide or any next steps you should take.  A sample follow up note is below.

  • Don’t follow up too often:  If you don’t hear back after your 1 week follow up, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of the running, but it may mean you are not being “fast tracked” through the interview process.  I look at it as being “on hold”.  During this time, you may still be a candidate the company is considering (if they did not turn you down) but they may still be talking to other candidates.  Attentive recruiters will probably tell you to hang tight but if you hear nothing, follow up every week and a half or so.
  • Know when it’s time to quit and don’t “stalk”: Again, if you are out of the running, the right thing to do is let you know.  Things get busy and this doesn’t always happen.  If you follow up a few times over the course of a month or two and hear nothing, it’s time to back off.  The unfortunate part is, you may not know where you stand or why things aren’t moving forward.  But hearing nothing does mean you’re not moving forward in this moment for whatever reason.  Try not to get disheartened – it is bound to happen sometimes.  Take your energy and experience interviewing and bring it to the next company you’re excited about.

Hope this post helped take some of the mystery out of the follow up process!  It’s definitely frustrating but important to remember on the company’s side of things, there are lots of different factors in play.  Trust that when the role is the right fit, you will hear back and know where you stand.  Until then, stay patient and stay positive!

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