You crafted an awesome résumé and you nailed the job interview. But it’s been a week since your interview, and you still haven’t heard back from the hiring manager. So, what do you do? Do you: A, play it cool and hope they’ll get back to you soon or, B, take the bull by the horns and address the issue straight on?
If you answered B, congratulations are in order! You deserve a cookie!
Now, if you’re not entirely sure how to do that, don’t worry — help is at hand! Read on to learn all about following up after a job interview, along with examples and useful tips.
Why you should follow up
There are a few reasons why following up after an interview is beneficial. Firstly, when you follow up, you’re reminding the hiring manager why you’re the right candidate for the job. Secondly, it shows them that you truly want the job, and you weren’t just applying for anything you saw on the job boards.
It’s an opportunity for you to reiterate your interest in the role, as well as prompt them to actually respond to your query. You never know: they could have simply been busy and might not have had chance to let candidates know if they were successful — or unsuccessful.
No matter what their response is, it will give you closure and allow you to move on in your job search if you weren’t successful this time around.
When to follow up
Before you follow up and right before your interview comes to an end, make sure you ask about the next steps of the hiring process: when is it okay to follow up? When are they likely to make a hiring decision?
This information will help you better plan for the follow-up process and when to check in for updates. (If you’re not given a specific timeline, the general rule of thumb is to wait at least a week from the day of your interview before you send that email or make that call.)
However, you need to know when to call it quits. If it’s been over a month and you still haven’t heard back, then chances are the role has been filled and you should, therefore, dedicate yourself to looking for other opportunities. Having said that, though, you shouldn’t stop looking in the meantime!
Ways to follow up
There are a couple of ways to go about following up after your interview. If you asked their preferred method at the end of your interview, that should be your first port of call. If you didn’t ask, here are a couple of ways to do it.
Send an email
Shooting off an email (or mailing a good old-fashioned letter, if that’s what you prefer) to the person in charge of making hiring decisions is probably the best way to follow up after an interview. And that’s because it ensures it gets delivered to the right person (assuming you send it to the right email address) and it also leaves a trail, making it easier for you to stay on top of things.
What are the dos and don’ts of following up via email?
- Send a “thank you” letter You should have sent this out within 24 hours of your interview, thanking the hiring manager for the opportunity and taking the time to meet with you, and reiterating your interest in the position.
- Don’t be pushy. Give it at least a week before you follow up if you haven’t heard back — or if you’ve been given a timeline, make sure you follow it. After all, you don’t want to be annoying.
- Get the name right. You don’t want to address the letter to Mr Jack Daniels when, in reality, the HR manager’s name is Jacqueline Daniels. Not only is it embarrassing (for you) but it also makes you look careless.
- Don’t be informal. This is supposed to be a professional email, so make sure it is. That means no smiley faces, excessive exclamation marks or opening with “Hey!”
- Keep it short. Whatever you do, please — please — don’t turn this email into the Extended Disco Remix of “Why Haven’t You Got Back to Me Yet?” Make sure you get your message across in 2–3 paragraphs.
- Edit and proofread. I know you’re tired of reading this piece of advice on every job application, résumé, cover letter and email-writing guide out there, but the last thing you want is to give the hiring manager a reason not to hire you. I mean, if you accidentally sign off an email with “Sincerealy” instead of “Sincerely”, what other mistakes are you capable of making?
What should I say?
Your follow-up email should include:
- A brief reminder of who you are (your name and the job you interviewed for)
- When you had your interview
- A brief “thank you”
- Why you’re a good candidate
- Any details you forgot to mention during the interview
- If they require any additional information
- A request to be considered for similar opportunities if you’ve been taken out of the running
- Your contact details
Is there a template I can follow?
Yes! Here’s a little template you can adapt to your particular situation:
Dear [hiring manager’s name],
I just wanted to check in and see whether there’s an update on the status for the junior advertiser position I interviewed for on September 25. I’m still very interested in the job, and I look forward to hearing from you.
You might, alternatively, want to try:
Dear [hiring manager’s name],
I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation about your business’s challenges since we last spoke. I was wondering if the team has considered the solution I offered?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Here’s another template for when you’ve already followed up, but have received no response:
Dear [hiring manager’s name],
I followed up with you on November 1, but I still haven’t heard back from you. I’m assuming that your hiring process is taking longer, which is completely understandable. However, I would like to inform you that I’m continuing my search and may not be available in the future. So, I’d really appreciate it if you could give me an update on where I stand by November 30, so that we can both move forward.
Thank you once again for your time and consideration.
Although this may seem a little pushy, it isn’t. It allows you to put closure on the situation and lets the employer know that you won’t wait forever. It also lets you mentally declutter and, therefore, better focus on other opportunities that may come your way.
A phone call is a quick, direct and easy way to follow up — that is to say if and when the hiring manager actually picks up the phone. Let’s face it: they might just be ignoring your calls if you keep calling every five minutes asking for an update!
Unlike email, a phone call is more personal, as you’re able to connect personally with the hiring manager and this, in effect, may help you influence their decision. It also shows that you’re confident, you’ve taken a little extra initiative, and you’re not afraid to address issues and obstacles face on.
What are the dos and don’ts of following up by phone?
- Practice, and practice some more. Ask a close friend or family member to roleplay with you by pretending to be the hiring manager you’re calling to follow up with. This will help you get some valuable feedback.
- Call the decision maker. It’s important that you speak directly to the person who is in charge of making the hiring decision, and you should have asked for their contact details before you left the interview room.
- Smile. Believe it or not, smiling on the phone makes you sound more confident and assertive. You’ll also be more relaxed.
- Call in private. That is to say you should be in a quiet place when you make the phone call. A lot of background noise (either while driving or, worse, in your cubicle at work) will end up distracting the other person on the line.
- Don’t overdo it. By “overdo it”, I mean calling the hiring manager every couple of hours. It’s incredibly annoying, and it makes you appear desperate, while the only thing you’ll accomplish is getting your calls ignored or, worse, blocked (remember: most companies have some form of caller ID these days, making it easy for them to do this).
- Be prepared. Have your résumé in front of you in case you need to answer any questions, as well as a list of references in case you’re asked for them.
- Don’t go on. This conversation should be short and straight to the point.
What should I say?
Generally speaking, you should mention the following (especially if you’re leaving a voice message — more on that later):
- Your name
- The job you interviewed for
- The date of your interview
- A “thank you”
- Whether they require any additional information
- A request to consider you for other opportunities if you didn’t make the cut
- Your phone number (if leaving a voice message)
Is there a script I can follow?
There sure is:
Hiring manager: Hello?
You: Hi, [hiring manager’s name]. This is [your name]. I interviewed for the senior accountant position last Friday.
HM: Oh, hi John! How can I help?
Y: I was just calling to let you know that I’m very much interested in the position, and I was wondering if you’ve made a decision.
HM: Not yet, no. We’re still interviewing candidates at the moment. We expect to make a decision by the end of next week.
Y: Oh, okay. Well, I really am excited about the possibility of working at [company name]. In the meantime, if there’s anything you need from me, please let me know and I’ll be happy to oblige!
HM: That’s good to hear, [name].
Y: Thank you for your time, [hiring manager’s name]. Have a good day!
HM: You, too! Bye!
Here’s what to say if the position has been filled:
Y: Oh, I understand. I’d like to thank you for your time and consideration. I really learned a lot about myself, the job and your company from our conversation. If the person you’ve chosen for the job becomes unavailable or if any similar opportunities arise in the future, I’d be pleased to come in for another interview.
Remember that scripts shouldn’t be followed word for word (they’re really only meant to help you get an idea of what to say) and that you should sound as natural as possible (ie: not like you’re reading a script). It’s also a good idea to create a list of all the things you want to mention on the phone call to make sure you cover all the bases.
Another point worth mentioning is that the hiring manager won’t always be a bundle of joy. In other words, you can expect them to be grumpy and rude sometimes, but the trick is to keep your cool and remain professional and gracious yourself.
Should I leave a voice message?
If you go straight to voicemail or you can’t get through to the decision maker, leaving a voice message sounds like a good idea. Your message should go along the lines of:
Hi, [hiring manager’s name]. This is [your name]. I interviewed for the accountant position on October 20 and wanted to thank you again for taking the time to meet with me. I really enjoyed our conversation and if there’s any additional information that I can provide you with, please let me know. You can reach me on [your phone number]. Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Other ways to follow up
Other than sending an email or directly calling the hiring manager, there are other methods you can put to use when making a post-interview follow up. This includes connecting on LinkedIn and sending an InMail message or texting them, though these two options aren’t very effective and are viewed as controversial by many HR managers and career experts.
If you followed the advice above, you not only deserve a cookie but also a job offer! Speaking of which, make sure you check out our comprehensive guide on evaluating a job offer, which includes valuable tips on negotiating, accepting and rejecting an offer.
In the meantime, if you have any tips and tricks of your own that you’d like to share about following up after an interview, do join the conversation down below and let us know. Who knows? You just might help a fellow jobseeker land their dream job!
Originally published on October 27, 2017. Updated by Hayley Ramsey.