Interview Follow Up: When, How and Why

When you’ve applied for a job and completed an interview, the effort shouldn’t stop there. How a candidate follows up with a hiring manager after an interview can be a major deciding factor. Not opting to contact the hiring manager after may indicate that you’re not enthusiastic about the job. However, if you follow up inappropriately, you risk leaving a negative impression that may negate even a great interview. Keep these factors in mind to make your interview follow up work in your favor and help you seal the deal and land the job:

Timeliness

During an interview, you only have a limited window of time to be able to make as strong of an impression as possible. Once the interview is over, the clock starts ticking and the interviewer’s memory of you may start to fade. For the follow-up contact to be the most effective, send it soon after the initial interview. Ideally, contact the hiring manager who interviewed you within 48 hours. If you wait too long, you risk being overshadowed by other candidates who contacted them sooner and came across more enthusiastically – or even worse, you could be forgotten about.

Method

Phone or email are the best ways of conducting your follow-up contact. While handwritten cards were once prevalent, there is a chance that hiring managers don’t place as much importance on carefully reviewing their mail, especially if they receive most correspondence electronically. A phone call is more personal, but if a hiring manager seems busy or tends to be away from their desk often, email may be a better choice since it can be viewed from multiple devices any time. Regardless of if you decide to call or email, limit it to one or two times if you don’t hear back, to prevent being too pushy.

Goals

The reason behind interview follow up is to not only express your appreciation for the opportunity, but also to address any concerns that may have come up, and reiterate your points for why you’re the best candidate. Prepare what you want to say before the phone call or email so you can present your case confidently. Respect the hiring manager’s time and make it as brief as possible – an email should be a couple of sentences, and a phone call should be limited to a few-minute conversation.

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