In recent weeks, I have seen a trend among many of the coaching calls I am taking. Many job seekers today are struggling with the interview follow up process. I want to give you a basic outline for how to follow up after an interview. Your strategy for following up after a job interview is extremely important. There is a balance at play here:
- If you are too aggressive, you ruin your chances be becoming “too desperate.”
- If you sit back an do nothing, they think that you are not all that interested in the position.
You have got to stick a good balance between the two in order to land the job. It is a principle that I teach called “polite persistence.”
What is Polite Persistence?
You are making your intentions known without getting ahead or behind the hiring process.
Take a moment and read that again. If you interview for a job that you are interested in, then you have to learn the art of “appropriate follow up.” Now, I would love to outline for you an exact timeline. However, each situation is a bit unique. Below I do offer specifics, but I also share some follow up principles that you can use as you see fit.
Guidelines on How to Follow Up After an Interview
Start by sending a Thank You card in the mail. This should be automatic. I am still surprised at the number of career professionals that do not do this. This is an essential “touch” in the process of getting the hiring manager to remember you (more on “touches” in just a moment). There is nothing worse than not hearing anything after an interview and not knowing what to do. Start by sending in the mail a physical thank you card after the interview.
If they give you a business card, email them within 24 hours thanking them for the opportunity to interview. In addition to the thank you card, email them a thank you as well. Do not say the same things. Make it personal and let them know that you are interested. I love emails because it gives them an opportunity to respond back. If they respond back this is a good sign. If they do not reply to your email, it is not a good or bad sign, it is just neutral. You really have no idea what is going on until you get some feedback.
Use “multiple touches” as a follow up strategy. I could spend a lot of time on this point. It is the foundation of your follow up strategy. If you are using only one method for following up after the interview, then you can be hurting your chances. For example, calling the hiring manager every afternoon for an update is a bad idea. Even if you are not getting them on the phone, they see your caller ID. This is even “extra annoying” if you have left some voicemail messages as well. If call you must, then at least use the *67 feature to block your caller ID so they do not know that you are calling repeatedly.
You should also think about other touches that you can make. Another one is email. You should be careful not to sent too many emails, but this can be a good strategy. I wrote a post you should read on the power of a follow up email. Pick the one that works for you and send it along. If they reply, great sign. You just opened more dialogue with them and permission to email them back in a few days (depending on the response).
Maybe you say “Well, if they do not reply, is this a bad sign.” No, because they could have just as easily replied and told you the position was filled. You gave them an easy out and they did not take it. Knowing is always better than just wondering. The idea here is to mix up phone calls and emails so that you are not bombarding them using only one method. It can be less obvious when used effectively.
Work every angle possible. The more information you can gain, the more power you hold. The more people you have conversation with the more knowledge you have about what is going on. If in the interview process you met 3 or 4 different individuals, you have 4 angles to work. Again, it is about polite persistence. You might figured out that one person is a “phone person.” You can call them and they will pick up the phone every time. Another person might prefer email. Use the person’s preferred method to follow up with them to gain some more information. The more people (angles) that you work the less bombarded any one person feels.
- 5 Essential Interview Skills That Win the Job (CPACareerCoach.com)
- How to Interview Someone (CPACareerCoach.com)
- How to Spoof Caller ID [Evil Week] (gizmodo.com)
- Hiring staff – How to interview a job applicant (premierlinedirect.co.uk)
- ARA: Writing a thank you note after an interview (timesunion.com)
- 4 Reasons You Need Job Interview Coaching (CPACareerCoach.com)
- How to Handle Phone Interview Questions (CPACareerCoach.com)