Earning

It's smart to follow up after job interviews, recruiter says: Here’s how to do it right

Following up after an interview can be just as important as a thank you: It shows interest.

Twenty/20

After a successful series of interviews, it may feel like it's time to just sit back and wait for the employer to reach out, hopefully with a job offer. But your work isn't done yet. After sending thank-you notes to everyone you met with, following up about the status of the job is a crucial next step.

"As a former corporate recruiter, I've had candidates follow up with me," says Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster. "I actually took it as a very good sign because it showed that they expressed continued interest and they were very professional."

Here are a few tips on how to follow up about a job.

Ask about the hiring timeline during your interview

The first step in nailing your follow-ups should actually happen during the interview itself. "Whenever they ask, 'Do you have any questions for me?' the last one you want to ask is, 'What's your timeline for making a decision?'" says Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume.

The answer will give you a sense of where you stand as a candidate, and provide details about how you might want to follow up after the interview process is over. A hiring manager may say they're looking to fill the role immediately, for example, or that they're still interviewing other candidates.

"If they say we're hoping to make a decision in two weeks," says Augustine, "don't follow up with them until two weeks" have passed.

You can also ask directly if the employer is open to you following up and the best way to do so.

Express that you're 'still very interested' in the position

Say the recruiter did, in fact, tell you that you can expect to hear back in two weeks, and two weeks have passed without word. You can now send the initial follow-up to the recruiter.  

In the email, remind them who you are, when you interviewed, and for what role. Salemi's suggested script: "I know you mentioned to follow up in two weeks, so I'm following up. I hope to hear back from you regarding next steps. I'm still very interested in this position."

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Augustine recommends setting a Google alert for every time the company gets mentioned in the news to see if there's information that can be included in a follow-up, like a recent award the company's won. It also helps if you have some new accolade to mention.

"In an ideal world, you'd have a new piece of information to offer every time you reached out," she says. "Maybe you're working on a certification and now it's complete, perhaps you saw something in the news about them."

'Tailor the frequency of your follow-ups' to their response

After that initial follow-up, "you're going to basically tailor the frequency of your follow-ups with [whatever] information you're receiving from them," says Augustine. Maybe the recruiter will tell you to give them another few weeks as they're still sifting through resumes, or maybe an employer will say you should hear back in a few days. Pay attention to their response and time your next check-in accordingly.

If you don't hear back at all, try following up in another week or so, suggests Augustine. At some point, you may need to recognize you've been ghosted. "If you follow up once every week or so four times after your initial thank you and you're hearing nothing," she says, "I'd let it go."

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'Don't take it as rejection if you haven't heard'

Hiring takes time, so "don't take it as rejection if you haven't heard from them right away," says Salemi. Maybe their fiscal year budget is being analyzed or protocol calls for them to interview internal candidates, too, even if they're not qualified.

"There are variables that are out of your control," she says. Instead of waiting for a call back, "focus on what you can control, which is applying to new jobs."

"You're fresh off an interview, your confidence is probably high, your answers will probably be polished," Salemi says. "Why not use this time to start pursuing new roles, network, and see what's out there."

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