Understanding the subtle art of how to follow up after a job interview is sometimes the difference between landing the coveted position and finding yourself scanning the weekend paper's help wanted ads. It's a delicate balance because you want the employer to know you are very interested in the job, but you don't want to come over as being too desperate.
Tips on Following Up After a Job Interview
Ask About the Hiring Date
The best way to prevent post-interview wondering is to find out during the interview when the company is expecting to make the hiring decision. If the interviewer says the company should be making their decision by Thursday, then ask if it is acceptable for you to call Friday afternoon to check on the status. The interviewer will tell you whether or not that is fine.
Send a Thank You Note
When you get home from the interview, the first thing you should do is write personalized thank you notes for each person you interviewed with. Do not use garishly-colored cards or paper; keep your notes professional looking by using elegant stationery. If your handwriting is neat only when compared to chicken scratch, type the note or have someone with nice handwriting write the notes for you. Here are a few tips for writing a thank you note to an interviewer:
- Keep it simple and don't ramble. Just tell them it was lovely to meet with them and thank them for taking the time to interview you. You can also add that regardless of how many people they interview, what their experience or education is, they won't find anyone who wants to work for their company more than you do.
- If during your interview, the interviewer said, "Call me Joe," then it is suitable to start your note off with a "Dear Joe," salutation. If, on the other hand, that type of informality didn't take place, then stick with the more business-professional, "Dear Mr. Wilson:" (notice the colon is used instead of a comma).
- End your thank you note with a suitable closing like "Respectfully yours," "Sincerely," or some other type of formal closing. Avoid using "Cheers," or "Talk to you later," or other types of closings you might use when sending a note to a pal.
Sending a thank you note via email is totally acceptable in today's modern world, so if you don't want to wait on snail mail to deliver your note, you can email it. One advantage to using the email version is that if the interviewer takes the time to reply to you, then it might be a good sign that you're at least in the running.
Make the Call
If the interviewer told you it would be fine for you to call on Friday afternoon, then by all means do it. Be respectful to the interviewer and remember that this person probably interviewed many, many people and he might not immediately remember you. Just say, "Hello Mr. Wilson, this is (your name). How are you doing? I interviewed with your company this past Monday. I am very interested in working for (company name) so I wanted to follow up with you. You mentioned that you were expecting to make a decision by Thursday. Can you tell me how the decision process is going?"
The interviewer will either tell you:
- You got the job and they just haven't had the time to call you yet
- Sorry, but the position has been filled
- The decision hasn't been made yet
If the decision is still ongoing, then ask when would be a good time for you to follow up. If the interviewer says to call next Tuesday, then mark it on your calendar. If he doesn't give you a day to call back, then wait two to three days and call back or send an email once again thanking him for the opportunity. Ask him for an update at his earliest convenience.
When Is It Time to Move On?
While the practice may be somewhat rude, most employers do not notify interviewees if they haven't got the job. If after three weeks your calls and emails are going unreturned, odds are the job has been filled and it's time to put this opportunity to bed. Landing a job is tough, especially in today's job market, but keep practicing the Three Ps - Patience, Professionalism and Punctuality - and in time, they'll pay off.