The interview is over, and you felt very good about your presentation and are confident that the job offer is yours, but you can't quelch the desire to follow up during your job search. You wait by the phone the day after, and the day after that, checking messages, checking email, and all you hear is silence. Should you give up and move on? Should you continue the endless cycle of keeping your phone nearby and checking your email every few minutes? Or is there another alternative to show you are still interested without appearing desperate or pushy? The art of the follow-up contact is an entire discipline unto itself, and can on some occasions make the difference between continued silence and getting that coveted job offer. When considering when and how and how often to follow up after a successful job interview, consider these tips from experts in the job search industry, and select the ones that feel right to you.
In today's internet driven, intensely competitive job market, a company may receive literally hundreds of resumes for a single job offer. By the time you are seated in their office, shaking hands with the initial interviewer, that individual may have talked with scores of potential candidates, and read through stacks of resumes. While they are very memorable to you, you may not be quite as memorable to them, due to the sheer volume of contacts an open position can generate. So do not assume that they will automatically remember you without a gentle nudge, especially if your interview feels closer to the middle of the pack. So now the question becomes, when should you follow up, how, and how often until you receive a response?
The general rule of thumb is to wait between five and 10 days after the interview has taken place to follow up. However, it is not out of the bounds of etiquette to also send a simple thank you letter or email the afternoon after the interview to simply thank the interviewer for their time.
Choose the method of communication that is most comfortable to you. Alternatively, choose the method of communication by which the interviewer has in the past communicated with you, if such prior communication exists. If you are nervous about speaking "live" over the phone, develop a script you can follow for talking in person or leaving a message. Do not assume that a follow up email will be read at all, or in a timely fashion, and the same can be said of postal mail, especially if the interviewer keeps a busy in-office or travel schedule. The most reliable and personal method of follow up is by phone. However, for technology-based jobs, it can be advantageous to follow up by email as well. Use your best judgment, keep your follow up call, email, or letter short and to the point, and be professional and polite.
Again, the best rule of thumb is to be persistent but not pushy. If another five to 10 days passes and there is still no word, you can make another very brief contact by phone or email just to let the interviewer know you are still interested in the position and believe you would be an asset to their organization.
There is usually a period at the end of every interview where the candidate is invited to ask their questions. This is always a good time to inquire gently about what comes next in the interview process, and can be a good way to gauge how quickly the interview process may move and what amount of time may elapse before the next round of interviews or the final selection. Knowing this information before you even shake hands and walk out the door can be a great way to manage anxiety during the waiting period. Another way to manage anxiety is to continue your job search, even if you think you are sure to get the job. As with dating, there is a certain allure to a candidate who is desired by several competing firms. So get up the next day and go right back to work, contacting potential employers, submitting your resume, and networking your way into a new job. If the employer of your dreams does select you, you may even come back to the table with more negotiating power if you have been extended a second offer during the waiting period!