Should you follow up after a job interview?

November 23, 2014

Here’s the scenario: you had a great interview for that new job (you think) and aren't sure whether or not to follow up. Here are a few reasons why you should.

Should you follow up after a job interview?

You may have only one chance to make a first impression, but your actions after the interview can put you at the top of the callback list. Here are a few tips:

The "thank you" follow-up

Within the first day of your interview, follow up by sending a thank you note by email to each person who interviewed you. It's as important a step in the job-hunting process as any other.

  • Your note should thank them for their time, recap why you’re a strong contender for the position and reiterate your interest in the company. Keep it brief and succinct.
  • The thank you note is a great opportunity to mention anything you forgot during the interview.
  • A handwritten thank you note is always appreciated, but since you want to be top of mind in the days after your interview, the timing of email works better than regular mail here.

The next week follow-up

A week has gone by and you haven’t heard anything. Should you expect the worst? You could assume that they decided to go with someone else, but it’s possible they simply got too busy.

  • It's common for hiring schedules to be derailed by days, weeks and even months.

This is an appropriate time to follow up regarding the interview and send another note, but to the human resources manager or main hiring contact.

  • Send them a short note to express your continued interest, and inquire about the status of their next steps.

In this situation, you may consider a follow-up phone call instead of email, as it’s far more personal — as long as you get them on the phone.

  • If you get voicemail at first, hang up and try another time.
  • Don’t call too many times without leaving a voicemail since most phone systems saved missed calls.
  • Rehearse a voicemail message in advance so you’re not blindsided by a machine or accidentally cut off before you finish speaking.

The after rejection follow-up

If you receive unfortunate news about your candidacy, ask the hiring contact for feedback.

  • They may not always provide you with relevant insight on why you were not selected, but you could get an understanding of the type of person they ultimately hired for the position.

At this point, you should send a handwritten thank you note to the hiring contact.

  • The fact that you didn’t get this job doesn’t mean you're not fit for another role in the company at a later time.
  • As well, that hiring contact may end up at another company of interest to you in the future.
  • A handwritten note will leave a memorable, lasting impression about you, potentially keeping the door open for future opportunities.

Job interviews can be stressful occasions but the connections you make can be invaluable down the road. The right job interview follow up tactic will help ensure you a bright future.

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