The interview is over. You think you've “nailed it.” Now, the waiting game begins.
Too many applicants simply sit back, try not to be anxious, and worry about how and when they will receive some type of communication from the interviewer or hiring manager.
Don’t put yourself in this position. As a job candidate in a competitive market place, you need to be proactive (but not aggressive) and conduct the follow up that will keep your name in front of the hiring manager’s eyes.
There are a few things you can do to accomplish this during your waiting period.
How to Follow Up After a Job Interview
Send a Thank You
It’s a good gesture to thank the interviewer for his/her time in meeting with you. Here are some key tips for doing this:
- If there were multiple interviewers, try to get the business cards of each one. You’ll then have their contact information so that your thank you can go directly to each person. If you are not able to get a business card, then check LinkedIn to see if you can get contact information. If that fails, call the main office and see if the receptionist can give you the contact information.
- Use this thank you to make some other points. Repeat your enthusiasm for the position and the organization; repeat key qualifications you hold; mention anything important that you forgot or didn’t have the chance to mention during the interview.
- If you felt you were unclear or did not answer a question thoroughly, clean that up in the thank-you. But, be brief.
- If you are given a second interview, do the same thing.
- Email is the best method for sending that thank you, and you will need a subject line. It should be simple, such as “Re: Interview on (insert date).”
- A hand-written thank you note sent by “snail mail” can also be a nice touch – most will not do this, and it will set you apart.
- Be certain to proofread you note – grammar or spelling mistakes say a lot about you, and it is not good.
- It’s okay to greet the interviewer(s) by their first name. This is not a formal piece being written to someone you don’t know.
- Send it within 24 hours after the interview
- Be brief but get everything in that you want to say- you may need to write several drafts before settling on one that does it all. Use short paragraphs.
- It’s okay to request an update on the process, but do so by saying something like, “I look forward to hearing from you with an update on the selection progress.”
Follow-Up Email When a Thank You Hasn’t Been Sent
If you did not send a thank you email but still want to follow-up with your interviewer(s), you should still send a good, solid communication to keep yourself top-of-mind. This may occur within a few to several days after the interview. But, much of the email can contain the same information as the thank you would have:
- Remind them of the date of the interview and express your thanks for the time they gave you
- Repeat your enthusiasm for the position
- Highlight the biggest “fit” elements you have for the position
- State anything extra you didn’t get out during the interview
- Ask for an update, and repeat your thanks
- Make sure that your sign-off is with your full name, if only to trigger their memory
- Your goal is to remind them you are still interested and waiting for news on the decision
When You Hear Back and No Decision Has Been Made
This often happens. You may hear back from the interviewer with a simple statement that no decision has been made. In this case, a response can be very short and simple. Simply “reply” with a thank you for the update and indicate that you remain very interested in the position and are looking forward to hearing from them. Nothing more. You do not want to appear desperate.
But, know this: the fact that you heard back is a good indicator that you are still being seriously considered.
When Your Follow-Up Emails Have No Response
This is common. You can send one more email after waiting at least a few days. This should be really short but also indicate your continued enthusiasm for the position. Just say, “I wanted to be certain you received my earlier email and let you know that I remain interested in the position and look forward to hearing from you soon.” Do not add any more. They have received your earlier email, and your only goal is to keep your name in front of them. Again, you cannot appear desperate.
Be Patient Even When You are Not
The wait can be agonizing. You really want this job. But, there is nothing to gain by communicating any further, except highlighting your desperation. What can you do to reduce the anxiety? Several things actually:
- Keep up your job search. Get your resume out to any other position for which you are qualified. Putting all of your “eggs in one basket” is never a good idea.
- Find other things to do, especially if you are currently unemployed. Go volunteer somewhere; get to the gym and workout; attend a workshop or seminar; look for opportunities to improve your skills and qualifications, especially online.
- Find a home improvement project and get to work on it.
If a Rejection Comes
There is also follow-up that can occur even if you should be notified that you did not get the position. It is perfectly okay to send an email to ask if there was something you could have done to improve your candidacy. Many hiring managers are willing to give you feedback, so take it seriously. There may be a single skill that another candidate possessed which you do not. This is good information to have – perhaps you can find a way to develop that skill and be more attractive to the next hiring manager.
A sense of optimism can go a long way. For one thing, it promotes confidence. Attack every interview with optimism, craft the right kind of follow up, and be patient. The right job for you is out there.
About the Author: Elisa Abbot completed a degree in Computer Science. Now she’s engaged in assessing translation services for PickWriters. Elisa is thirsty for knowledge and is always on the lookout for tips to share with her readers.