One of the most confusing aspects in the interviewing process is knowing when, how and how often to follow-up with the company after the interview. Some people believe that you should only follow-up once with a follow-up interview email. Other people say to follow-up once per week. So what is the right answer? Unfortunately, there is no right answer, but there are some ways to know which answer is best for you in your situation.
All About Following-Up
Whether to follow-up and how often to follow-up is really a judgment call, but it should be one that is based upon some feedback from the representatives of the company. The key to knowing the boundaries is to discuss next steps at the end of the interview, which is also the proper time for you to ask a few questions.
During the interview closing, it’s customary for the interviewer to let you know approximately when they might be making a decision. It’s at that point that you should ask if he would mind you following-up. If the answer is no, he probably will give you a business card or some other contact method. If the interview went extremely well, you could ask if he would mind if you sent a LinkedIn invitation.
If he states that he would prefer to do the contacting, then understand your options are limited. However, it’s always appropriate to verify they have all of your contact information.
When it comes to following-up on that specific position, you really want to follow the lead of the hiring manager. If it sounds like you’re bothering him or he has no time, then you need to pull back a little. If he seems happy to hear from you, then you’re doing fine with your level of contact. In addition, there are three general rules to keep in mind:
Other than the original thank you note, don’t follow-up during the timeline you were given. If the manager says it will take 3 weeks to make a decision, wait until week four starts before you make contact.
Stay polite, positive and very brief. Simply inquire how the recruitment process is coming along and reiterate your interest in the position.
Email contact is more acceptable than phone calls. When the hiring manager gets the email, he can choose to ignore it or respond to it at his leisure and after he’s composed a response. A phone call puts him on the spot and might make him feel uncomfortable.
One exception is the Human Resources department. It is acceptable to contact the Human Resources department more often, especially if you’re interested in any position with the company and not necessarily that specific position. Cultivating an HR contact can be extremely valuable to your job search.
The Thank You Note
In years past, a handwritten thank you note was mandatory. In today’s world, it all depends. Some hiring managers may view a handwritten note as being old-style and no longer in touch with today’s world. Other hiring managers, especially those in more formal and conservative companies, may view the handwritten note as professional and tasteful. Other companies, especially technology-based companies, prefer an electronic thank you note via email.
When in doubt, compose your thank you note in the communication method that is used most often by the company when they reached out to you. If you received emails or texts from the recruiter, it’s acceptable to send your note back through that same method. If you received mostly phone calls or items through the mail, a handwritten note or formally composed emailed note is better.
Some items to remember when composing your note:
- Thank the interviewer for his time.
- Create the note so that the focus is on the company’s needs.
- Put in one or two points as to how you can meet those needs and add value.
- Send as soon as you get home from the interview.
- Be sure to include all of your contact information.
There are examples of people simply skipping the thank you note stage and still getting the job. This is acceptable if the company employees don’t give you direct contact information or they show an indication that they prefer to make the contact. If in that situation, you should at least try to contact the human resources administrator who set up the interview and ask if a short thank you can be passed along to those who interviewed you.
When making contact with anyone from within the company, be positive. Perhaps this particular job won’t work out, but making a professional contact can be beneficial in the long run.
If you are rejected and don’t get the job, make sure to thank the person anyway. If you feel comfortable enough, you could always express interest in future positions or ask for feedback regarding why you were not chosen. Although negative criticism may be hard to take, remain professional at all times. Evaluate the feedback objectively to determine if you will make changes or not.
Make sure to proofread your thank you note for grammar and spelling mistakes. Also make sure to check the spelling of names when you’re sending any contact information. Spelling the hiring manager’s name wrong is a sure way to derail your chances for the position.
Be patient. In many corporate situations, the hiring manager may want a new employee within two weeks, but the process could be delayed by any number of things. In the meantime, don’t wait for this specific company. Keep working on finding a new position, contacting other companies and going on other interviews.
And finally, remember that the purpose of any job search is to sell you as the best candidate for an open position. In every communication and every conversation, you must remember that you have to show how you fit the position and what value you would add to the organization. In addition, the follow-up contact process is to make sure that the hiring manager doesn’t forget about you and is kept aware of your continued interest in the open position.