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How to Properly Follow Up After an Interview

You passed the phone screening and aced the job interview. Now, you wait.

Constantly checking your inbox to see if the hiring manager reached out will grow tiring fast. That’s why knowing how to follow up after an interview is key.

The follow-up can seem stressful. You want to strike a balance between staying top of mind and not pestering the hiring manager. But through this process, you’re given the opportunity to reiterate your interest in the role. Plus, even if you’re not a fit for the position, you could be perfect for future roles—making properly conducting yourself post-interview crucial.

Here are some tips to help you effectively follow up after your next job interview.

During the Interview

At the end of the interview, ask what next steps are. The hiring manager will likely provide a timeframe of when you can expect to hear from him or her, which you can use as a guide. If the response is, “We plan to make a decision within the next two weeks,” and you’re 16 days in without word, it’s acceptable to contact the hiring manager.

Keep your email succinct. The message can simply say:

I hope all is well. You mentioned that the team would be making a hiring decision within the next two weeks, and I was wondering if there were any updates. Also, if there are any additional questions I could answer that might help ease the decision-making process, please let me know. I look forward to chatting again soon and, hopefully, taking on this role. 

Immediately After the Interview

Within 24 hours of the interview, send an individual email to everyone you met. Thank them for taking the time to interview you and re-express your enthusiasm for the role. If there was something the two of you bonded over during the conversation—perhaps you share an alma mater or favorite author—note that in the email. That way, you stand out and stay top of mind.

You can also use the email to highlight anything you forgot to include in the interview, or elaborate on a question you were asked. Maybe you discussed a business challenge the company is facing and brainstormed ideas after the meeting based on experience from your previous roles. Share that, and tie it to results you’ve produced to remind the hiring manager why you’re right for the job.

Just be sure to keep the email concise. You want the hiring manager to remember you and respond to your email, not overlook you because your message was too long.

In the Weeks Following the Interview

If you sent a “thank you” email and then followed up again because you hadn’t heard anything within the initial timeframe proposed, you might need to start periodically checking in. Rather than repeatedly ask, “Have you made a decision yet?” there are tactics you can leverage that add value to the hiring manager—similar to how you build and maintain your professional network.

  • Forward Content: Share an article you think he or she might find interesting and, in your email, explain why that article made you think of him or her. If you stumble upon a relevant industry event or webinar, forward it along and ask if he or she plans on attending or tuning in.
  • Offer Congratulations: If exciting news is published on the company or you notice that the hiring manager was promoted, send a congratulatory note.

When periodically checking in, refrain from asking for anything or pestering for a hiring decision. Your goal should be staying top of mind and showing the hiring manager that you can provide value in a variety of contexts, whether it’s on the job or as part of his or her network.

If You Don’t Get the Job

If you do hear back and were, unfortunately, not the chosen candidate, ask if the hiring manager would be willing to provide any feedback as to why. Their advice will not only help you during future interviews, but also reaffirm your professionalism and drive to improve. You might also consider saying, “If you think I could be the right fit for any future roles, please let me know. I’m still very interested in working for the company.”

Just remember that, no matter how you’re corresponding with a hiring manager, to always keep it professional. Kelly McDonald, senior HR business partner for startup accelerator Cogo Labs, reiterated that point in a recent post about how to properly reach out to a hiring manager, saying:

You want to leave the impression you put thought into your email—not that you tapped out a hasty note with a “Sent from my iPhone” signature. Show that you took applying seriously and that you respect the hiring manager’s time, and he or she will do the same.

While the follow-up might seem stressful, with these tips, you can hopefully start feeling as confident after the interview as you did during it.

Are you looking for more interview advice? Check out our posts on “How to Ace 7 of the Most Common Interview Questions” and “Interview Etiquette 101: How to Impress Employers.”