After completing an interview, you are probably a little nervous. You spend the rest of the day second-guessing your answers, wondering if your responses were correct, concerned you didn’t say the right thing and worried about how long it will be before you hear anything back. But relax! Interviews are not easy and when they are finished the stress you put on yourself can be even more difficult to cope with than the actual interview prep work you did.
Instead of freaking out and being nervous about next steps, take the initiative with a follow-up. If you aren’t used to following up after interviews then you might think this is a bit invasive and could hurt your chances of landing the job, but this is not the case. In fact, following up in a professional manner can demonstrate to an employer that you were grateful for the chance to interview and that you are dedicated to the position.
However, like interviews themselves, follow-ups don’t come in a one-size-fits-all approach. Different types of interviews require various ways of following up. Handling the communication correctly is what is important.
It is becoming increasingly common for initial interviews to be held over the phone or maybe a Skype conversation. This doesn’t mean the interview is less formal, nor does it mean a follow-up is not required. In this situation, send an email to the person who interviewed you thanking them for the time. Always begin this email with “thank you” and include something along the lines of, “I look forward to speaking with you again.”
“Follow up after an interview to demonstrate your go-getter attitude.”
According to Forbes, a quick email message is important. It shouldn’t be long and shouldn’t reiterate what you and the interviewer already talked about. You can do yourself more harm than good by restating your experience and qualifications. The interview is over, so don’t go back to it. Just thank the person for his or her time, tell them you are available if they have any additional questions and you look forward to your next conversation.
Also, do this right away. Since you are on the phone, probably in your home, it should be easy to go right to the computer (if you weren’t at it already) and type up the email. Don’t wait until the next day or even an hour later. Get right on it.
A follow-up to a face-to-face interview should still be sent as an email, but it can contain a bit more. Instead of a simple thank you, having some questions or observations to include is a wise move. Whether your questions are specific to the job, or perhaps you noticed something in the office that maybe made you curious, now is the time to ask. Questions demonstrate to an employer that you are serious about the company, because you were paying attention during the time of the interview.
Additionally, you will likely meet more people in an in-person interview, and they should all receive follow-ups. It is not redundant and when they discuss your interview performance after you are gone, it will be a bonus to you that they all received a follow-up. It shows that you have an understanding of the organization and that all of their roles matter to you.
Checking Back In
There are times when you will write a follow-up email and might not hear anything back for a couple weeks. While this is unfortunate and can be frustrating, it doesn’t mean you haven’t gotten the job. In this instance, according to ZipRecruiter, checking in with the person you interviewed with is fine.
Again, you might feel too timid to reach out to someone you interviewed with, as if you are overstepping your bounds, but you aren’t stepping too far at all. Maybe a company is hiring but something came up that needed to be addressed first? Or perhaps the company is struggling to decide between you and another excellent candidate, hence the delay, and this follow-up could make the deal.
Checking in is also for your own sanity. Honestly, how long is too long to wait around for someone to get back to you? That is a tricky answer, but after two weeks, you should feel free to reach back out. If they decided to go with someone else, at least you know. If they haven’t yet decided, then your follow-up might be your in.
Don’t Be too Persistent
If you followed up and heard nothing, it is important to wait a couple weeks. Likewise, if you check in after two weeks of hearing nothing and still don’t get a reply, just leave it alone. While it is unprofessional for a company to just not reply, but unfortunately it happens. According to Mashable, a big part of the follow-up process is knowing when to move on. When you have done all you can do in a professional manner, then sometime walking away is you only option left.
Remember that maintaining your professionalism is important. Even if this job didn’t work out, who’s to say that particular employer doesn’t recommend you to someone else based on your interview and follow-up skills? You never know how these things will go, you can just be professional and handle it how you know you should.
The follow-up can be as important as the interview. Keep your focus and your positive attitude and land a job.