March 16, 2018
A part of the interview that is often overlooked doesn’t actually take place during the interview; it will happen several weeks later. This is, of course, the follow-up. While this practice is easily overlooked, and many interviewees do forget about it, following up after an interview is essential. Not only does it show that you are actively interested in the job, it will also bring you to the front of an interviewer's mind.
During the Interview
It may seem counterintuitive, but you should start the follow-up process during your interview. Lori, a hiring expert from Cigna, recommends that “The best course of action is to ask at the close of the interview what the next steps in the process are. By asking that question, you can usually find out how and when you will hear back from the company about your status. That way, if you don't hear from them by when they had told you that you would, you can reach out via phone or email to check in.”1 By establishing a timeline for yourself, you will know when the appropriate time is to reach out.
If you still haven’t heard from the company and the date they gave you in the interview has passed, don’t feel uncomfortable reaching out. Hiring managers are often extremely busy people and may have gotten sidetracked with other responsibilities. A polite email inquiring a status update and the timing of their decision can serve multiple purposes. If they have come to a decision, you can get that information as soon as possible. And if they are still considering several candidates, you can put yourself in the front of their minds and reiterate your interest in the position. Stephanie, a hiring expert from AT&T, says, “Respectful follow-up is not perceived as desperate, and I would typically say that 2 weeks between follow-up messages is just about right. I might recommend asking the recruiters you speak with what they would prefer for the timing of your follow-ups.”2 By asking about their preferred timing, you can avoid becoming an annoyance in their busy schedule while still remaining persistent.
If you have sent a follow-up email and still haven’t heard back from the hiring expert, reach out again! Steve, a hiring expert from Caterpillar, says, “It is normal to be anxious when you have not heard back from an employer in a timely manner. It is perfectly acceptable to follow up on your status. If you have a contact, I would suggest initially following up with an email, while your second follow-up can be a phone call.”3 Let them know that you understand they are busy, but are very excited for the opportunity and would like to know if you are being considered.
At first, following up might feel like you are annoying the hiring manager or appearing desperate. This is most definitely not the case; companies like to see that you are eager and interested in the position. As long as you wait an appropriate amount of time between follow-up messages and maintain a respectful and polite tone at all times, following up is nothing but a tool that can help you land your dream job.