You just finished an interview, and you feel pretty good about it. Or maybe you recently met a recruiter who seemed super interested in you and has experience with the exact kinds of companies you want to work at. You feel pumped and are waiting anxiously for their call to tell you the great news.
But a couple of weeks later, and you don’t hear anything. No email, no call. You forgot to send a follow-up message. Even though your best friend told you to send one within 24 hours after the interview. You start to get that sinking feeling in your stomach. What do you do now? Can you follow up with her without sounding desperate or annoying?
At this point, most people would just assume they did not get the job offer and move on. But before you give up on this job position, make sure you follow up with the interviewer. There are many reasons why you should do this.
Why it’s Important to Follow Up with the Interviewer?
1) They may still be interviewing. While 2 weeks may seem like a long time to you, keep in mind that many companies will take well over 2 weeks to finalize a new hire. Some may even take months to ensure they are hiring the right fit. One follow-up email could make a big difference in this case. Especially if the other candidates are also not sending any follow-up emails.
2) They may be hiring in other departments. Even if you’re not the right fit for this position (or maybe the position was filled by someone who simply followed up before you), the company could be hiring in other departments. By staying on top of the interviewer’s mind, you can be fast-tracked to an interview with a different department. Or better, you could be offered a different position immediately if your first interview went well.
“The job interview is only the beginning of the conversation”, says Ivy Chen, an expert at career counseling in Vancouver, “so you definitely want to stay on the employer’s radar by sending a follow-up note”. Making a good impression with the right decision maker—a recruiter, HR person, or hiring manager—can be extremely valuable.
How to follow up on a job interview? What are the best practices?
1. Send a Thank You Message Within 24 Hours
Start by following up with the person who said they’d be in touch with you. That could be the recruiter, recruiting coordinator, or the hiring manager. Make sure to send this thank you note within 24 hours after the interview. Some people say handwritten letters are good, but email is definitely the best way to follow up without appearing pushy. Here’s how you write a good thank you note:
Be brief and friendly. You’ve already had the job interview, which means they liked your resume. Send them a personalized message, and sincerely thank them for this opportunity. They probably chose you out of hundreds of other resumes.
Repeat your interest in this job. Let them know that after the meeting with them, you are still interested (if not more) in the position. And include any relevant details you may have left out, that further prove your qualification.
Thank the interviewer for their time. Job interviews require a lot of time, often forcing people to push off their work. Every minute your interviewer spends with you is costing them time and the company money.
Here is an example thank you note:
Hi [Hiring Manager’s Name], Thank you so much for your time today. After learning more about the position, I’m very excited for the opportunity to join your team and help [create world-class marketing campaigns, inspire prospective clients, increase revenue, etc.] for [Company Name]. I know my years of experience of working on [web development, copywriting, sales, etc.] would greatly benefit your company. If you need any additional information from me, please let me know. I look forward to speaking with you soon. Warm regards, [Your Name]
“You can impress the employer even further by including a valuable idea or business suggestion in your follow-up email,” says Nan Mu, a senior human resources specialist providing job interview coaching in Toronto for over 13 years. “By offering incredible insights after a short conversation, it reminds them why they could use someone like you and why you deserve the job.”
For example, you can add something like this to an email:
“Our conversation about [A and C] gave me a fascinating idea. Has your team considered trying [Y and Z]? The previous company I worked at found this application very effective and led to huge cost savings.”
2. Check-In (Periodically) with the Interviewer
Sending the initial thank you note after an interview is the easy part of following up. This is the part most people do well. But making contact again after a few weeks of silence? This is the part most people don’t do well at all. Maybe you worry that checking in will appear annoying, or worse, desperate. If you check in with a 3-paragraph essay on why you should be hired, then maybe. However, if done properly, this follow-up technique can lead to your dream career.
“The check-in email is a regular and professional process,” says Ellen Zhang, a career consulting expert at Alba Vancouver. “In fact, some of the most successful business people in the world do this very well.” When used correctly, you can come off as diligent and interested—allowing you to keep up-to-date with a large network of professionals.
Here are some tips on how to follow up properly:
Be brief and friendly. Similar to the original follow-up email, maintain a sincere and polite tone of voice. Avoid sounding upset or dejected. You can even mention that you are following up in case there’s anything additional that they might need from you.
Don’t assume that you didn’t get the job. You may think that 2 weeks of silence means the company has already hired a different candidate. But this is not true. The hiring process can take months to complete, especially if the decision-makers aren’t urgently looking or have a lot of other crucial business deadlines to meet.
Wait for the anticipated “timeframe” to pass. At the end of your job interview, if the interviewer provided you a timeframe of when you should expect to hear back, follow that schedule. For example, if the company said you should hear back from us in 3 weeks, don’t send them a panicked email after 2 weeks. However, if that date has already passed, feel free to send a follow-up email to the interviewer.
Here is a sample post-interview check-in note:
Hi Peter, I hope you’re doing well! You mentioned you would be finalizing your decision for the Finance position this week. I’m eager to hear the latest update! Let me know if there’s anything I can provide to assist you in your decision-making process. Best, Jane
3. Keep in Touch via Email or Linkedin
If this company really interests you, and you think you might be a good fit for future positions, don’t be afraid to periodically keep in touch. “If you treat the HR manager as a valuable new colleague and contact rather than a failed job interview, you may be recommended for positions in the future,” says Teresa Mei, career consultant at Alba. Here are some tips on keeping in touch with the interviewer:
Add them on Linkedin. This is an absolutely crucial first step. Linkedin has become the best place for professionals to stay connected with one another. It’s the modern-day business card. When someone accepts your Linkedin invitation, they are saying “feel free to send me any worthwhile information related to my career”
Keep the conversation going. You can build a good relationship with anyone by occasionally sending articles or information that are relevant to them. Congratulate them on their accomplishments, work anniversaries or birthdays, and thank them for their replies.
Follow their company page on Linkedin. Be sure to stay up-to-update with the company’s LinkedIn page if you are interested in working with them. Take an extra step and follow their competitors as well. Now you can be a source of information for the team as you are letting them know about news that maybe they may have missed. Plus, they might post job postings on their official page as well.
Remember, timing is everything. If you can successfully stay in touch with someone, they might think of you first for new job openings. But don’t overdo it. There’s a fine line between genuine and annoying. The key is to be professional, sincere, and useful, not aggressive and over-eager to get a job.