It’s so tempting to just dash off an email to someone you haven’t heard back from. But when it’s an employer that you interviewed with, are you really helping yourself by “pushing them” along with follow-up emails?
I’ve had some readers write to say they feel that if they don’t keep sending emails or calling, they might be perceived as not proactive enough – or worse yet, not really interested. As someone who has interviewed and helped hire many people, I’d like to give you an employer’s perspective.
How the employer feels about all your emails
It’s true that we are always on the lookout for proactive people who know how to take things into their own hands to create success. BUT we are also on alert for people who are high maintenance, need lots of hand-holding, have little patience or respect for process, and / or see everything from their own perspective.
When I interview people, I am thrilled to find one or more who feel like possible good fits. I don’t sit around worrying if they emailed me afterward, although a nice thank you note expressing strong interest and maybe referring to something we discussed can’t hurt. But if you aren’t the one, it probably won’t help either. (Still, I recommend post-interview thank you notes just in case.)
But when I start to get lots of email follow-ups from someone, it doesn’t raise them to the top of the “nice” list. It might actually move them on to the “potential problem” list. If this is how they act now, what will they be like when we face all kinds of obstacles and delays on the job?
So is it ok to follow up at all?
Of course. In addition to the thank you note after the interview, waiting a couple of weeks and sending a short, polite follow-up note is fine. In fact, it might remind certain employers to move things along. But most employers are already doing what they need to, so don’t make it seem like you are trying to get them to shape up. You are not the one driving this right now.
Bugging them too often or asking where they are in the process is about YOU and your needs. Expressing interest and offering anything to support them in their effort is more about them – and yet still serves your purpose since it reminds them of you.
Just let them know you are still very interested and hope they keep you in mind. Also ask if there is anything else you can provide them with to help when they are ready to make the decision.
Exceptions to the rule
I want to be careful in how I say this, since I don’t want to open up the email floodgates that I’m trying to get you to close. Many people now have inboxes that overflow and overwhelm. Some even hundreds a day or more. You don’t want to add to that without careful thought.
But if you are applying for a sales job or some other job where showing that you know how to approach a “sale” might be advantageous or if you have something else directly relevant to the job you want to share, then a carefully timed and written follow-up note might make a difference. It could even help close the sale. Just make sure you remember that this can work both ways.
And occasionally I’ve heard from job seekers who get told that they were contacted, but the email or phone call didn’t reach them. So the short, polite follow-up again has value.
But there is no case where LOTS of emails is the right course of action. They get you remembered, but not in the way you want!
More articles: Before, During & After Your job Interview