Following up with your potential employer after a job interview is an important step of the hiring process for any applicant. When you reach out to your interviewer to express gratitude for the opportunity and their time, you display an aura of professionalism that is guaranteed to make you an attractive candidate.
With this being said, following up too frequently or at the wrong time can irritate the potential employer and minimize your chances of securing the role. It's okay to be eager to hear back and a follow-up email, done correctly, can work wonders.
We've provided some tips for how and when to follow up after your interview so you can leave a positive impression and receive that job offer.
Know the Timeline
Before you can even think about following up after an interview, it is crucial that you know the timeline for when you can expect to hear back from the hiring manager.
During the interview, many interviewers will give you a date or range of dates when you can expect to hear back, but if they don't this is a great question to ask at the end of your meeting. The company may be filtering through a larger number of applicants, so they might move to a second round of interviews.
Don't be afraid to ask the hiring manager some simple timeline questions about the decision and interview process. When you have a good idea of when you can plan to hear back, you will be more prepared to follow up accordingly.
The Follow-Up Email
You should send a follow-up email to the employer, hiring manager, or interviewer one to two business days after your interview. It is best to send the email to whoever you have had the most contact with during the application process, but you can always send a group email to the two or three professionals that set up or conducted your interview.
The initial follow-up email should be modeled as a thank you note and the email subject can be something like "Thank You for Your Time" or Follow Up for XYZ Role." Begin the note by addressing the employers by name and thank them for their time. Use specifics in the note, like the date of the interview, the role you are applying for, and the name of the company. You can also toss in a bit about what you loved about the interview, but keep it brief.
Close out the message by reiterating your interest in the role and expressing eagerness to hear back. Sign off with another thank you and be sure to include your contact information in the lines under your name.
The whole email should be one paragraph or three to five sentences. This isn't the time to make another case for why you are perfect for this role unless there is something super relevant that you think they would want to hear. Respect their decision-making process and stick to gratitude. This follow-up style will show that you have class and it will keep you fresh in the interviewer's mind.
When You Don't Hear Back
It can be frustrating when you don't hear back from a potential employer after an interview. Some employers may have underestimated how long it would take for them to make a job offer and some employers simply don't get back to you if you were not chosen as the new hire.
If you haven't heard back from the hiring manager, it is best to send a follow-up email about a week after their expected timeline date has passed. In this quick email you can thank them again for their time and consideration, using the names of the interviewers, the position, and the company. Then you can offer a gentle nudge reiterating how eager you are to hear back and kindly ask for a progress update. Sign off with another thank you and take a deep breath while you await their response.
If they get back to you and reply that they have filled the role, it is still a great practice to respond with gratitude. Some candidates who weren't chosen even like to mail a thank you note to the employer's office. If you're really bummed about not being chosen and truly want to work at the company you can tell them that you would love to be considered for a future position opening.
This follow-up is a great practice because if the chosen new hire proves not to be a great fit, you may be the perfect second runner for the position. You can also display your professionalism by leaving a good impression. This may lead to future opportunities when the employer remembers your class. Who knows, they may not hire you, but you could secure a potential mentor with some solid career advice!
Don't Be Pushy
When you follow up after an interview, don't be pushy. It is best to keep your follow-up notes or emails short and brief. One follow-up after the interview and one additional note after the expected timeline has passed is appropriate, but more than two emails can irritate your interviewer and potentially cost you the position.
It is also best to keep it on a positive note, even when you are anxious for a response. By keeping your messages short and kind, you show that you have strong communication skills, but pushiness can reflect poorly on your character.
Emails are also usually better than phone calls when following up because you don't want to risk disrupting your potential employer's workflow. Use your judgment when making a phone call to follow-up and use the same model of short and concise expressions of gratitude and eagerness to hear back.
The hiring process can be stressful, especially when you have your heart set on a potential role, but a simple interview follow-up note can be the factor that sets you apart. In the meantime, check out our blog for more candidate tips for highly effective job seekers like Preparing for Behavioral Interview Questions and Talking about Your Weaknesses in Job Interviews.