Many jobseekers spend a significant amount of time preparing for the initial steps of the hiring process: writing and fine-tuning a resume and practicing for the personal interview. However, your contact with a potential employer should not end at the interview. Knowing how to properly follow up after an interview can be the final step to earning a job offer. You will need to find the balance between professional communication that keeps your name in the recruiter’s mind, and too many calls or emails that sound desperate. Here are some tips for continuing positive communication with a recruiter after the interview has ended.
Step 1: Close the Interview Strongly Before the interview ends, it can be helpful to get an idea of the next step in the process. You may ask for details about what will happen next and when you can expect to hear from the hiring manager. If you have a general timeline to work from, it is easier to know when you should follow up after an interview.
Step 2: The Thank You Note Most employers place value on receiving a polite thank you note (or email) from candidates. It’s a good idea to send this as soon as you can, by the next day at the latest. Your note should be concise and grateful while also reminding the recruiter of your suitability for employment. Don’t reiterate all the items you discussed in your interview. Rather, show that you were paying attention during the interview and are enthusiastic about the company by mentioning a specific aspect of the position that excites you.
Step 3: Check In If you received an indication during the interview of when you could expect to hear from the company, wait until that time before initiating any conversation. Once it’s a day or two past the expected timeframe, it is perfectly acceptable to call or email and ask for an update. Be positive and low-pressure: ask about where they are in the hiring process rather than focusing on your personal chances.
Step 4: Proceed Cautiously It’s important to avoid communicating too much. It can make you look desperate and undermine the good impression you made during the interview. After you’ve checked in once, it’s best to wait patiently. One exception is if your initial follow-up conversation created another timeline. For example, if the company responded with, “We are still interviewing, please follow up next week,” then you may initiate a conversation again within that timeframe. Additionally, if the recruiter has stated that the interview process may continue for a month or two, you may follow up again if the company still seems interested in you. Otherwise, the best thing to do is continue pursuing other job opportunities while you wait to hear.
Step 5: Continue Your Job Search Even if the job you are waiting on seems like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it is wise to have a backup plan in case the company chooses another candidate. While you are waiting, continue sending out resumes and going on interviews.
Step 6: Final Thank You Note If the company hires someone else, you may send a final communication if desired. It can be as simple as an email thanking the recruiter for his or her time and consideration. You may close with a request to keep you in mind for future positions, but avoid sounding bitter and keep the overall tone polite and positive.
Final Thoughts It can seem challenging to determine when and how to follow up after an interview. Many jobseekers feel it isn’t even necessary. However, nearly all recruiters indicate that a polite and professional follow-up call or email is a positive step that improves the perception of the candidate. It’s important to make sure that your follow-up communications are concise and respectful. Don’t do anything that could come across as desperate or unprofessional. Sending a final thank you note if you learn you weren’t selected for the job can be smart. It reiterates your professionalism and emotional maturity, and it may help a hiring manager think of you in the future for another position.