After your interview, when you’re anxiously waiting to hear back from the employer, it’s natural for you to want to take action as soon as possible. And that follow-up call to the interviewer or someone in human resources feels like just the right thing to do while you wait for a response.
But before you make that call (or write that email), I’d like you to think about what your action would be accomplishing – and whether it will actually help or perhaps hurt your chances.
Is there a right amount of time to hear back? How long should you wait before you follow up? If you do contact the employer, is email better than phone contact? I’m glad you asked…
What to know about contacting employers after interviews
Despite all the well-intended advice out there about following up after your interview – some telling you that being aggressive is showing your interest – that call to the employer asking where things stand is not always appreciated. Especially if you’re trying to make them respond to YOUR time schedule.
Most employers pretty much assume you’re interested. It’s a job that pays real money, after all. For the most part, they aren’t sitting and wringing their hands, wondering “Oh dear me. Did he or she like us?” Although of course, for the right candidate, they do want to know that you’re interested.
Enter our friend the thank you note
Within a day or two after the interview, it’s a good idea to send a thank you letter, card or email. This is where you thank them for the interview and tell them that you’re very interested, assuming you are.
A thank you note alone probably won’t get you the job (although there are exceptions). Nor will it change their minds if they’ve decided that you just aren’t the fit their looking for. But it’s a nice way of leaving an extra good impression – and it also solidifies the idea that you want them.
So for all of you who have sent the note and have been waiting a whole loong week, please know that there is no reason for a follow-up contact that soon, unless something has changed or you promised to get back to them with some information.
The art of waiting to hear back after a job interview
Look, I know that a week to a job seeker can feel like forever. But to the employer’s side, that’s not long at all. (Think of dog years versus people years.) They may even be finishing up interviews or figuring out their next steps.
Sometimes emergencies, unexpected projects or vacations / sick time for key players get in the way. And sometimes it just takes a while to get all the people in the hiring process together to make some decisions.
So waiting a few weeks to hear back is not uncommon.
And it won’t help you to keep calling. If they like you, they haven’t forgotten. If they aren’t sure, calling too often can make you seem needy or high maintenance. The last thing you want to do is make it seem like you’re telling them that they aren’t doing it right – even if it feels that way!
So how soon and how often is it ok to follow up?
For most jobs, if you’ve waited 10 business days and still haven’t heard anything, a short, polite email reaffirming your interest and asking if there’s any other information you can provide them would be fine.
If this is a job where you know they need to hire someone immediately or maybe a sales job where they might appreciate the extra enthusiasm, perhaps a week would be ok. Remember, you’ve already sent that thank you note, so they are aware of you.
Or, as I mentioned, if something changes, like your availability or you get another offer or you created something that speaks to the job, then by all means contact the person you had the best rapport with and let them know.
But whatever you do, don’t keep calling
I once had a job candidate who was one of the ones we were considering, but she kept calling me and others she met with. She even nosed around to find other people to contact us – and it didn’t make us think “Wow! We need her.”
Nope. It just made us think “Uh oh! She’ll never be able to deal with the reality of working here and how long things can often take as part of the normal course of business.”
Hope that helps.
Articles to help you stay sane after a job interview!