META: Use our tips on the follow up after an interview to increase your chances of landing your dream job.
Your job interview is over. You spent a lot of time prepping for the interview, and now the dreaded waiting period starts. You’ve replayed it over and over in your head, but a few days have gone by, and you haven’t heard anything. Few things try your patience like waiting for a response and not knowing if the answer will come, ever.
For future reference, be sure to ask these four questions before leaving an interview, and ask if they have a timeline for hiring someone. Hopefully, you asked about their timetable for hiring someone before you left the interview. If you didn’t, don’t get stressed out or worry about your chances. You can follow up with your potential employer to find out when they plan to hire someone.
Beyond your education and skills, getting the job requires diplomacy and timing. Just because you’re perfect for the position doesn’t mean you’ll get hired.
If they interviewed twenty or more applicants, chances are they have several qualified people to choose from with the same education and skillset as you. That statement isn’t meant to discourage you, but it’s easy to think you have to job locked down when it’s very likely you need to employ some diplomacy and finesse to get hired.
Should You Follow Up After Your Interview?
You should always follow up after an interview, but don’t pester them. Hiring managers and employment specialists recommend waiting at least a day before following up. The initial follow up is more or less a thank you note. Send an email to let them know you enjoyed the interview and learning about their company firsthand.
Include a sentence or two about your continuing interest in the position and let them know you are available if they have additional questions. Clearly, the interviewer assumed they could call or email you if they needed answers to further questions, but that isn’t the real reason for the follow-up email. The email’s real purpose is to put you back in the front of the interviewer’s mind.
If you failed to ask any of the questions from the link above or about their hiring timeline, ask them in the follow-up email. That lets them know you continued to think about the interview and looked for ways to improve it after it ended. It’s not a guaranteed way to keep your foot in the door, but it does impress companies when you show initiative and try to improve yourself.
We all like to think we put our most professional self in front of the interviewer, but we all make mistakes or answer at least one thing wrong. There is no excuse for misspelled words in an email!
If you made any errors in the interview, the employer probably chalked them up to you being nervous, unless they were significant mistakes. However, mistakes in emails such as misspelled words or poor grammar won’t be overlooked.
Don’t use slang words, or any words you don’t understand. Misusing industry terms is a great way to get your resume thrown in the trash. Keep your email simple and stay on topic. They don’t want to hear about your cat or that your rent is due next week. Thank them for the opportunity to interview with the company, find out when they plan to hire someone, and use spellcheck.
It’s ok to promote yourself. The purpose of the interview is for you to push yourself and try to look your best in the eyes of the interviewer. You can do it very briefly in the follow-up email as well. Don’t declare yourself the greatest of all time but highlight your skills and achievements. In as few words as possible, let them know why you think you are an excellent fit for the position.
What if the Timeline has Passed?
If they tell you they plan to hire someone within two weeks and that time passes by with no contact, don’t assume you didn’t get the job. Companies often set goals and timelines for filling a position, but they don’t always stick to it. If the timetable passes, it’s acceptable to send another follow-up email to inquire about the position and find out if they hired anyone.
Keep this email simple and to the point like your initial follow up. Don’t remind them that you haven’t heard anything or ask if they forgot about you. Ask them if they filled the position, or if they extended the timeline. Mention you are still interested in the job and ask them if you can do anything to improve your chances.
Check Your References
Contact people you plan to use as a reference before listing them. Tell them you are applying for a position and describe the position to them. There’s no harm in stacking the deck a little in your favor. Whatever you do, don’t assume it’s ok to list someone as a reference without asking first. This isn’t part of the follow-up, but it’s solid advice either way.
Follow up with your references a few days to a week after the job interview. Ask them if the company contacted them. If the answer is yes, find out what questions they were asked and how they answered them. If the answer is no, ask them to let you know if they hear anything. It’s also a good idea to tell your references you appreciate them taking the time to act on your behalf.
Know When to Give Up
At some point, you have to move on and apply for another one or stick with the job you have until a position you want pops back up. Follow up a day or two after the interview and follow up a second time after a couple of weeks or if the hiring deadline passed; but end it there. You won’t get every job you want and knowing when to quit is part of the process.
An Example Follow Up Email
Don’t use this email example word for word. It’s only here as an example follow up email. That said, here’s a simple follow up email you can send the day after your interview:
Dear (insert the interviewer’s name),
I enjoyed our interview yesterday about the graphic designer position with your agency. My skills and education seem to be an excellent match for the job. Your company’s approach to the creative process confirmed my interest in working with you.
In addition to my artistic skills and my enthusiasm, I am assertive, punctual, and goal oriented. I appreciate the time you invested in our interview. I am very interested in the position, and I look forward to hearing from you.
End the email sincerely and include your name, email address, phone number, and any online profiles you think will aid you. If you interviewed with more than one person at the same company, send a follow up thank you email to both interviewers. Do not copy them on the same email. That makes you look lazy no matter how you attempt to justify it.
The Short List of Tips on the follow Up after an Interview
Use this checklist as a quick guide to follow up after a job interview:
- Send a different email to each person that interviewed you
- Change the emails enough that it appears you composed them separately
- Send a quick thank you email even if you changed your mind about the job
- Wait at least a day for the first follow up
- Wait at least ten days for the second follow up
- Never send a third follow up
- Let them know you appreciated their time and that you are more interested in the position now
- Add a sentence or two about why you believe you are perfect for the job
- Proofread three times and use spellcheck
- Never demand a response or an answer from the interviewer
We stress not going overboard in your follow up. However, you can use the follow up to clean up any mistakes you made during the interview or correct poorly answered questions. If an answer you gave is bugging you, use this opportunity to clarify or correct your answer.
Explain, very briefly, that you worried about a specific answer and you feel like your response was not the best response. Then answer the question the way you wish you answered it during the interview.
If you follow our advice, you stand a better chance of landing the position you are after, provided you are qualified for the job. Never pester the interviewer for an answer. If they don’t respond to your email, let it go.
No response does not necessarily mean you didn’t get the job. If they were interviewing several people, it might take a day or two before they find time to respond to your email. The important thing is that you did follow up and you followed the rules.