Sending an email to follow up on a job interview

The do’s and don’ts of job interview follow-up

Written by Nicole Wray
Posted on

You’ve polished your resume, landed a job interview and made a great first impression. There’s just one more thing to do before you begin watching your email for good news – follow up.

Following up after a job interview is a good way to confirm your interest and tie up any loose ends, but be careful not to be aggressive or pushy. Here’s what to do (and what not to do) when following up after a job interview.

Follow up, but keep it simple

Unless asked not to make contact after a job interview, a polite follow-up is likely to be welcome by the interviewer.

“If the candidate is truly interested in the job, a follow-up is a professional way to confirm their interest,” says Kathryn Benson a Senior Human Resources Consultant at HR Options.

When following up, keep it simple: thank the interviewer and confirm your interest in the role and company.

“Focus on thanking those who did the interviewing…Include the reasons why your interest has now been enhanced. I would not recommend using the follow-up email to inquire about the company’s benefits or using the follow-up as a negotiation platform,” explains Benson.

However, Benson notes that not following up after a job interview likely won’t cost you the job.

“Not following up will most likely not decrease the candidate’s chances of getting the job. Skill set and personality fit would trump even the nicest follow-up,” says Benson.

 

Let the job interview inform your follow-up style 

Interviewing for a job at a start-up likely calls for different follow up protocol than interviewing for a job in a corporate suit-and-tie setting.

“A short, professional email thanking the interviewer and confirming the candidate’s interest in the position is a nice gesture. If it’s a creative, customer-oriented job, a paper card may be entirely appropriate and welcome,” says Benson.

Take a cue from the interview: Was it formal or conversational? Were the interview questions typical or outside the box? Will the job require you to be creative or follow protocol? Was your interviewer wearing jeans or a suit?

A more casual job interview experience means you may have more leeway when following up. When in doubt, stick to a formal and concise thank you email that reinforces your interest in the company.

And think twice before picking up the phone.

“I would never recommend a phone call follow-up,” says Benson.

A phone call could put an interviewer on the spot, making them feel uncomfortable. Unless asked to call, stick to email or a thank you card.

The waiting game

We’ve all been there before: you’ve had a job interview, followed up soon after, not heard back for days, then weeks. With a lot of decision making and moving pieces behind the scenes, a long wait might not mean you’re out of the running, but be sure to not come across as needy or annoying when following up.

“I recommend following up after one week unless the candidate was told they would hear from someone within a specific time-frame. In that case, follow up a day after that time frame as elapsed,” recommends Benson.

In the event that you’re experiencing the job seeker’s dream dilemma – multiple job offers – Benson recommends being as honest as possible.

“I would definitely suggest letting the interviewer know about the offer received, and providing a deadline that you must respond by,” says Benson.

Wondering where you stand following a job interview can be tiring and frustrating, especially if you nailed the interview. But no matter how confident you are, ensuring your follow-up is concise and professional will help leave a positive impression with your interviewer.

 

See also:

How to write a thank you note after a job interview
Follow through for the win: Write a high impact follow up letter
David Sax wants you to look up from your computer

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