So, you had that initial interview with a prospective employer and felt that it went great on both ends. You followed up right away with a thank you letter, and you are eagerly waiting to hear back. A week goes by… two weeks… and still, nothing. Should you write off the job or continue to follow up?
Here are my thoughts based on my years of experience in hiring and recruiting:
The Short Answer: Definitely Follow-up
This is a chance for you to stand out, show initiative, and reiterate your enthusiastic interest in the position moving forward. Keep it polite, positive and productive.
Over the phone:
If you have a name and number of the main person you interviewed with (the ideal person), or the recruiter handling the process (the next best person), call him or her on the phone.
Be sure to write out some speaking points beforehand. Mention something specific about the position and/or the company culture that you learned from the initial interview and describe a relevant skill or strength that you have that demonstrates how you are an excellent fit for their needs. While this may seem overdone, your persistence shows commitment.
Be pleasant and enthusiastic, and let them know you are eager to move forward with the interview process. If you leave a voicemail, ask them to return your call or email you. Don't forget to leave your contact information in your message!
If you follow up by email, then you’ll want to construct a similar message and send it to the person whom you have been involved with that has the most decision-making authority. To get started, check out our 15 follow-up email templates here.
Remember these points in you're feeling nervous:
- You have nothing to lose by doing this
- You are standing out by showing initiative in a positive, professional, and enthusiastic way
- Polite persistence is the key
- By reaching out, you will become more top of mind and you are building a connection for this or even future opportunities. Also, it is common for things to take longer than expected. One way to help manage this is to ask at the end of each interview phase, "When can I expect to hear back from you about next steps?" With that, you’ll have an excellent reason to follow up if they said, “By next week” and it's been two weeks.
Sometimes a hiring manager or recruiter may not be able to respond because they don't have enough information or authority to do so yet in their process. They could be waiting to finalize a negotiation with a top candidate that could fall through and lead to consideration of other top candidates on the list, so regardless of them responding to you or not, it is in your best interest to reach out and follow up with them.
In most cases, they will take notice and respond when able. If they don’t have the courtesy to respond at this point in the process, then it may feel a bit easier for you to move forward with other jobs where there is more of a connection. I’d love to hear your experience. What interview follow-up methods have worked well for you? Share your comments below.