After perfecting your cover letter and resume, then acing the interview, you’re waiting to hear back from the company about the next steps. And whether it’s been a day or a week, you’re wondering how to follow up on a job interview without ruining your chances of landing a job.
The trick is to strike a balance between professional and eager without crossing the line into over-eager and possibly needy. Here’s everything you need to know about following up on a job interview.
- Why You Should Follow Up on a Job Interview
- How to Follow Up on a Job Interview
- How Not to Follow Up on a Job Interview
Why You Should Follow Up on a Job Interview
Following up after a job interview helps convey your interest in and excitement about the job. It also demonstrates to the employer that you possess certain soft skills. The email you send or voicemail you leave are excellent, real-world examples of your written and verbal communication skills.
How to Follow Up on a Job Interview
Not hearing back about your job interview doesn’t mean you didn’t get the job or the employer is ghosting you. Career coach Denise Ingledue-Lopez, MA, PRC, points out that you’re likely only one of many candidates who interviewed for the role, which complicates things for the hiring manager.
“Consider that for one position, they may have had hundreds of applicants, then conducted between five and 10 interviews for that role.” So, while there’s only one you following up, each interviewer may have as many as 10 people to follow up with.
What does this mean for you? As Ingledue-Lopez says, “You don’t want to annoy the interviewer by contacting them too soon or too many times.” So, here’s how to follow up on a job interview the right way.
Check Your Notes
Throughout the interview, you’ve (hopefully) been taking notes. And at the end of the interview, there’s usually time for you to ask questions. If the hiring manager hasn’t volunteered the information, ask when you can expect to hear about what comes next. Will they email you or maybe call? Do they specifically not want you to contact them?
Then, before you follow up, check your notes. If they said it would be a week, wait until a week has passed before reaching out. And while it’s tempting, try not to follow up exactly one week from your interview. Consider giving them a few more days or even an additional week before reaching out, just in case they’ve fallen behind.
You may think reaching out before the deadline shows how interested you are in the position. However, it can also demonstrate a lack of soft skills, like being a good listener, paying attention to details, and following instructions. So, as hard as it might be, resist the urge to reach out too soon.
If, for some reason, you don’t have any notes about how to follow up, check the job posting. Sometimes the information is in there. But if it’s not in the job posting and you didn’t get the information from the interviewer, you can follow up one to two weeks after your interview.
Example Follow-Up Script
When it’s time to follow up, you’ll likely reach out via email, though you can leave a voicemail if you want.
No matter your preferred contact method, Ingledue-Lopez says that your follow-up should include these seven elements:
- The interviewer’s first name
- An explanation that you’re following up on the status of your candidacy
- A specific mention about the job title you applied for and the date you interviewed
- Restate your interest in the role
- Directly ask about the status and that you look forward to hearing from them
- A thank you
- A positive tone
Here’s how a follow-up email could look:
You can also use this email to elaborate on anything brought up in the interview (like the company’s strategic goals for the next two quarters) or even to mention something you forgot to say in the interview.
I wanted to quickly follow up and see if there are any updates on the [job title] position I interviewed for on [date]. I’m excited about the prospect of joining the team, as this role seems like a great fit for my background [give a specific example of what you’ll bring to the role]. I look forward to hearing any updates as they become available. Please let me know if there’s anything you need from me.
Let It Go Unless…
Once you hit send, there’s not much else you can do but wait. If another one to two weeks passes, you can follow up again with a similar (but not the same) email or phone call. But the maximum is two follow-up attempts. If you don’t hear anything after your second email or phone call, it’s time to move on from this job.
The one exception to this advice is if you get a job offer from a different company. If you’re waiting to hear back from Company A, but Company B makes an offer, you should contact Company A to let them know. While there’s no guarantee, the fact that you have an offer could be enough of a nudge for the hiring manager to follow up with you.
How Not to Follow Up on a Job Interview
The right ways to follow up on a job interview will help paint you in a positive and professional light. But there are also wrong ways to follow up that could cost you the job. So, here’s how not to follow up on a job interview.
Follow Up Too Much
While there are multiple methods to get in touch with people, you don’t want to overdo it when following up on a job interview. For example, if you send an email, you shouldn’t then leave a voicemail (to let them know you sent an email), then contact them on LinkedIn, then tweet at them.
When you send multiple messages, your interest and enthusiasm can read as desperation, and generally, companies don’t hire desperate candidates.
Follow Up Often
Even if you stick with one contact method, you shouldn’t use it to follow up too often. If email is your preferred way of reaching out, don’t send a message every day asking what the status is. One email a week is plenty. And, again, if you don’t hear anything after the second contact, move on.
Skip the Follow Up
While following up on a job interview too much isn’t a good idea, neither is skipping it entirely. You might think the “play it cool” approach signals you’re interested in the job but aren’t “too” interested. But what it really tells the hiring manager is that you aren’t interested in the job at all.
Lie About a Competing Offer
Though it’s crucial to reach out to the hiring manager if you have a job offer from company B, only reach out to company A if you have a written job offer. You may want to reach out if you have a verbal offer, but that could be risky. Why? If you only have a soft job offer (like a verbal one) or no job offer, you run the risk of company A saying, “Congratulations and good luck on the new job.” And if the verbal offer falls through or you never really had a competing offer, you won’t have a job at all.
Follow Up With Care
When it comes to following up after a job interview, balance is key. You want to reach out to let the interviewer know you want the job without overdoing it. Reaching out once or twice with a positive, upbeat inquiry will help you display your passion for the role without overwhelming the hiring manager.
Ready to learn more professional skills? Consider participating in Cisco’s Career Readiness Virtual Work Experience Program and prepare for your professional future.
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