How to Follow Up After An Interview
So, you’ve just had an interview for your dream job. You hit it off well with the interviewer and made a good impression. Now what?
At this point, many people might be wondering if they should follow up with the interviewer — sending them an email (or sometimes a handwritten card, if in person), to thank them for their time and consideration. Equally many people doubt the effectiveness of following up, saying even though it’s a nice gesture, it likely won’t have any effect on the interviewer’s decision.
To learn more, we spoke with Sales Practice Lead Brandyn Keller who has over 11 years of recruiting experience. He provided some insights to help job candidates best follow up after an interview.
Should You Follow Up After an Interview?
Absolutely, following up after an interview is strongly recommended. Taking just a couple of minutes to compose a gracious email can make a significant difference in your job search. At worst, sending a follow-up email will not be the sole reason for rejection, but at best, it can distinguish you from other candidates and potentially tip the scales in your favor.
“Following up after an interview shows interest in the prospective employer and creates an opportunity for the job seeker to sell themselves one last time after the interview,” says Keller.
With minimal time and effort required, the potential upside is considerable. Furthermore, as the practice of following up becomes increasingly common among job seekers, it is gradually becoming an implicit expectation from employers. Therefore, by proactively reaching out, you demonstrate your professionalism and eagerness for the opportunity.
How Long Should You Wait After an Interview to Follow Up?
Determining the appropriate waiting period before following up after an interview can be subjective. As a general guideline, it is advisable to follow up within a few hours after the interview and certainly before two days.
“Usually, the day of or the next day. Be sure to take time to really digest the interview, the notes you took and reflect on what you could have done differently before sending. Although you want to utilize the follow up to keep you fresh in the interviewer’s mind, the content and impact of the follow up is the most critical part to consider,” says Keller.
This timeframe ensures that you remain fresh in the interviewer's memory. Contacting them too soon may be perceived as overly eager or intrusive, while waiting too long might cause you to miss the opportunity while you’re fresh in their minds. Striking the right balance in timing demonstrates your professionalism and respect for their decision-making process.
Questions to Ask After an Interview
Keller recommends asking any questions about the role and the company’s mission during the interview. After an interview, it is crucial to ask thoughtful and relevant questions that demonstrate your interest and engagement.
“Follow up questions after the interview can include asking about the timeline for a decision and any additional information they could use from you to help in making a decision. If there are questions that you had down to ask in the interview and ran out of time, those are questions you may want to include in the follow up and explain that time did not permit you to ask them in the interview,” says Keller.
By asking intelligent questions, you showcase your genuine interest and enthusiasm while also gathering valuable information to assess if the role and company are the right fit for you.
Asking well-thought-out questions during the interview's closing stages not only allows you to gather valuable information but also leaves a positive impression on the interviewer as someone who is engaged, thoughtful, and genuinely interested in the opportunity.
How to Follow Up After an Interview
Following an interview, it is crucial to follow up promptly to express your appreciation and maintain a positive impression. We highly recommend sending a follow-up message within two days of the interview, as it demonstrates your professionalism, enthusiasm, and gratitude for the opportunity. By doing so, you convey your attentiveness to the hiring process and your genuine interest in the position.
“A great follow up will accomplish a few things. One - Confirm your understanding of the company, the role and your interest in winning the job. Two - Review and revise any answers to questions or key information about yourself that you may have missed or forgotten in the interview. Three - Provide references and/or letters of recommendation that can speak to the role you are applying for,” says Keller.
In terms of the medium for your follow-up, if possible, we suggest going the extra mile by sending a handwritten card. A handwritten note adds a personal and thoughtful touch that can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer. It shows that you took the time and effort to craft a physical message, which can be particularly meaningful in today's digital age. However, if sending a handwritten card is not feasible or practical, an email is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
When composing your follow-up message, it is essential to express your gratitude and reiterate your interest in the position and the company. Begin by thanking the interviewer for their time, the opportunity to meet, and the valuable insights they shared during the interview. This demonstrates your appreciation for the time and effort they invested in considering you as a candidate.
To increase the likelihood of receiving a response, we recommend including a thoughtful and relevant question in your follow-up message. This question could be related to the specific role, the company's future, or any additional information you would like to know about the next steps in the hiring process. This not only shows your engagement but also gives the interviewer an opportunity to provide further details or clarify any uncertainties you may have.
However, it is important to remember that not receiving a reply should not be taken personally. Human resources departments are often inundated with numerous emails and have busy schedules managing multiple candidates and responsibilities. Understand that they may not always have the time to respond to every email individually. Don't be disheartened if you don't receive a reply immediately or at all. Instead, focus on the proactive step you took by following up, and continue to stay positive and patient during the hiring process.
“Organizations all have very different structures regarding their talent acquisition process. Some companies will respond in a timely manner, while others may have rules against responding to a follow up. It is a good idea to state your intent to follow up in the closing of the interview and ask what their company process and timeline for follow up may look like,” suggests Keller.
By effectively following up after an interview, you reinforce your interest in the position, leave a favorable impression, and showcase your professionalism and gratitude. These actions can set you apart from other candidates and increase your chances of moving forward in the selection process.
“Following up after an interview is important to show the employer how interested you really are in their company and the job you are interviewing for. It is very important to try to cover everything you possibly can in the actual interview itself, so that the follow up is the capstone of the interview process rather than an overwhelming list of questions that should have already been addressed,” says Keller.
Following up with an interviewer may not guarantee than you’ll get the job, but it’s often worth the time to make another positive impression on the interviewer.
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