Conducting yourself properly after a job interview can be as difficult as navigating the aftermath of a first date. You want to contact them. But you’re not sure how soon is too soon, or how many times it’s acceptable to check in. You don’t want to come off clingy. We get it.
Knowing when and how to follow up — and when to give up — is tricky. In fact, one anonymous reader wrote into our Discussion Board asking for advice on this very subject:
“I had a job interview last Thursday (about 7 days ago now.) My interviews started on Wednesday with a short phone interview before I was asked to come in for a short-notice in-person interview the next day. I met two interviewers on Thursday. On Friday, I sent a personalized thank you email to all three of my interviewers to thank them for their time and reiterate my interest in the position. I really felt like the interviews went well, and I feel like I would be an excellent fit for the position I was interviewing for. In my thank you email, I asked one of my interviewers when they were planning to make a hiring decision. It has now been 6 days later, and I have not received a response from any of my interviewers and I’m becoming increasingly anxious about the whole ordeal. Since I have not received a response yet, is it likely that I should give up on this opportunity and cut my losses or should I reach out to follow up again?”
A few other readers responded to the discussion — and we’re loving the advice they offered.
“Definitely reach out! That way you’re back at the top of their email inbox,” one woman said.
“Sometimes hiring managers are just really busy! This is a great opportunity to follow up and provide a little more information about why you’re excited to connect,” another woman wrote.
And we agree.
According to Forbes, “Job candidates frequently make one big mistake after an interview: idly waiting for the employer to call with good or bad news.” Following up shows you are still interested in the position and are bold enough to reach out. “Interviewers like proactive and ambitious candidates; they are the lifeline of the employer and its future. What’s more, some interviewers dismiss candidates who don’t follow up,” the article continued.
However, there is a wrong way to follow up.
Our discussion post writer did the right thing by sending a thank-you note after the interview (which, coincidentally, is a practice Fairygodboss Co-founder and President Romy Newman feels quite strongly about). A polite, conversational thank-you note should ALWAYS be sent within 24 hours of your meeting. Even better: make it a personalized note. Reference or expand on a specific detail from the interview itself, and explicitly state how much you’d love to join the team you’re hiring with and why.
Also read: Why Are Employers Taking So Long to Hire Me?
With this initial formality out of the way, there’s a balance to strike with further followups, too. Immediately after the interview (preferably in-person, so you’re not waiting for an email response), ask the hiring manager what the next steps are in the hiring process and when you should hear back about the position. If the hiring timeline comes and goes, definitely feel comfortable to reach out via email asking for an update.
If you are not given a timeline — per our discussion post — wait at least one week after your interview to follow up for an update.
Following up more than two times (not including the thank-you note) without a response could seem too aggressive for the hiring manager. However, these recommendations are entirely objective, and you should gauge your own situation and relationship with the company before making a decision.
Regardless of what happens, always remain cordial. Your hiring manager could reach out when another position becomes available or even recommend you for another opening within the company.
~by Leah Thomas via Fairygodboss
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A version of this post, previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.