So they liked your resume, you nailed your cover letter and got an interview. It can feel like it takes forever to find out whether or not you got the job. And it's easy to spend that waiting time cringing at your answers, but chances are you read the room better than you think, and definitely better than the world's best tennis players.
Why you should follow up after an interview
When there are two or more great candidates, the decision as to who gets the role can come down to the details. The smart thing to do is to follow up. If you do it right, you won't look needy or impatient, you'll look like you understand business etiquette, are genuinely keen on the job and know how to go the extra mile.
When to follow up after an interview
Every time. Unless they offer you the job on the spot. Make your opening move quickly, while you're still fresh in their collective memories, and plan to reach out three times in the next few weeks, unless you hear back from them first.
How to follow up after an interview
A series of well-planned, well-timed and well-executed emails is the way to go. Only make a phone call if it's expected – for example, if they ask you for specific information you don't have to hand, then you can offer to call them to confirm the details.
Making the first move
Your opening gambit is to send a thank you note the next day – this shows you have manners and initiative, both highly sought after soft skills in pretty much every workplace. It can be hard to tell who's the most important person in the room, so send your email to the whole interview panel. Keep it short, on topic and professional, along the lines of the template below:
Subject line: Thank you for your time
Hello [interview organiser],
Thank you for yesterday's interview for the [put the whole job name here, don't assume they're only hiring for one position] role. It was great to meet you all. The interview gave me a detailed picture of the job, and insight into [company name] culture. I'm even more enthusiastic about the position now.
[If you want to add extra impact, include some new information about you that's relevant to an interview question – maybe even add a link to a social media post that shows your achievement. Thank them for their time and say you look forward to hearing from them.]
Formal sign off,
Following up on the follow up
Don’t send your second email too soon after the first. There’s a fine line between being keen and being a pain in the ass. Base your timing on the available information. If they said they’d make a decision by a certain date, wait another day or two and then follow up. If no date was mentioned, wait at least a week after sending the thank you note. Once again, keep it short and sweet, and avoid repetition.
Subject line: Full job title
Hello [stick to the same person unless otherwise advised],
I hope you’re having a good week. I wanted to follow up on the [put the full job title in again] position and enquire about the current status of the hiring process.
Please let me know if I can provide you with any further information or samples of my work. I look forward to hearing from you.
Rejected or ghosted?
Maybe you’ve had an email and it starts with “Thank you but unfortunately,”. Or maybe a couple of weeks have gone by, you’ve sent two follow up emails and you still haven’t heard anything. Now is the time to send one final follow up.
Subject line: feedback on [job title] role
Hello [stick to the same person],
I hope you’re well. I wanted to thank you again for considering me for [the job]. [If you got the hard no, be honest and say of course you’re disappointed to have missed out on such a great job. If you’ve heard nothing, say you understand the process takes time.]
I know you’re busy, but it would be great to get some feedback on my application and interview/on the expected timeline. I’d also appreciate it if you kept my details on file as I’d definitely be interested if a suitable role becomes available at [company name].
Time to move on
Maybe you’re out of the running, maybe you’re not. The larger the organisation, the longer it can take to hear back. Whatever– you’ve now done everything you can. Sometimes it’s just not the right time, the right fit or the right role. And sometimes, if you’ve gone through the whole process and never get an answer, it’s worth asking yourself if you really want to work for a company that ghosts you rather than just saying no.