The Right Way to Follow Up After a Job Interview

Now that your interview is over, you breathe a sigh of relief and head home. However, your work isn’t done. Your next step will be to follow up with your interviewer. What you may not know is that the follow-up can be just as important as your interview. The way you approach the follow-up can impact the way an interviewer sees you. This could be your final shot to leave an impression that can work in your favor if done right. Use this opportunity to outshine the other candidates. Here are some tips on the right way to follow up after a job interview.

Pace yourself

Man on phone

Man on phone | Source: iStock

Don’t let your excitement cause you to follow up too soon. Experts generally recommend allowing at least one week before sending an email or making a phone call. However, if your interviewer has given you a different timeline, follow instructions. Following up too soon may annoy your interviewer and could come off as desperate or overly aggressive.

Ronnie Ann Himmel, career coach and founder of Career Nook, said lack of patience shows the employer you’re not a good candidate. “I can assure you that a bit of patience will serve you well during this process. It can go on far longer than you or the employer wishes,” Himmel said. “And if you try too hard or too soon or too often to show them the right way and push for an exact timeline or decision, you are only showing them that you might not be the person who can handle a job where delays and frustrations can happen all the time.”

Don’t become your interviewer’s stalker

Man with magnifying glass

Spying man | Source: iStock

Sure, you’re excited to have an opportunity to throw your hat in the ring for a new job, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to be obnoxious and aggressive with your follow-up. Respect your interviewer’s time. Remember that you’re not the only one who interviewed for the job. There are many other candidates your interviewer needs to get back to.

Career expert Kathryn Lee Bazan said if you follow up a few times and you still haven’t received a response after several weeks, you may want to move on. “Many companies don’t tell you their hiring decision (unless you’re the one they’re hiring), rude though that practice may be. They hope you will just give up and go away after three weeks.

If no one returns your emails or voice mails after several weeks, let it go and presume that there will be no offer,” Bazan said. “If the hiring company were interested, your contacts would be picking up the phone. In that case, do you really want to work for someone too dumb to hire you? I thought not! Keep hunting. The right job will come.”

Be polite

Folders labeled naughty and nice

Naughty and nice list | Source: iStock

If you didn’t get the job, don’t automatically send an angry email. Get a handle on your emotions before giving the hiring manager a piece of your mind. Who knows, he or she may have you in mind for another position at the company. If you’re rude, you can kiss that opportunity goodbye.

Don’t forget to say ‘thank you’

Man writing in his notebook

Man writing a note | Source: iStock

Instead of demanding to know when a final decision will be reached, start by thanking your interviewer for his or her time. There may have been a meeting that got rearranged or a lunch break cut short just to accommodate your interview. Keep this in mind when following up. It may be taking longer than you anticipated to receive a reply.

A long response time could leave you feeling angry and frustrated, but you should always remember to send a sincere thank-you card or email. The candidates who remember to show thanks for the interviewer’s time are usually the ones who stand out the most. Bazan recommends sending a note or email to every person who interviewed you.

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