Following Up After the Interview: Tips and Tricks
So, you’ve just survived the gauntlet of a job interview. Your tie is loosened, heels are kicked off, and you’re experiencing that cocktail of relief mixed with lingering anxiety. What now? Do you wait by the phone, draft an email, or start the next round of job applications?
Contrary to what many believe, your job isn’t done when the interview ends. The post-interview period is a crucial phase where your actions can set you apart from the competition. Following up correctly can show your continued interest and could even be the tie-breaker in your favor. Here’s everything you need to know about following up after the interview.
Following Up After the Interview: Timelines to Consider
Navigating the post-interview period can feel like walking a tightrope. But fear not—timing is everything, and we’ve broken down this crucial window into three main phases to guide you. “Phase 1” covers the immediate 24 hours following your interview when quick action can leave a lasting impression. “Phase 2” dives into the one-week mark when strategic follow-ups keep you in the game. Lastly, “Phase 3” explores what to do beyond one week and how to make more assertive moves when you haven’t received feedback.
Phase 1: The First 24 Hours
Send a Thank-You Email
Sending a thank-you email within the first 24 hours is non-negotiable. This isn’t just good manners; it’s an additional opportunity to reassert your enthusiasm for the job and the company. Your email should express gratitude for the opportunity to interview and reiterate your interest in the role. Spice it up by referencing something specific discussed during the interview. This shows you were engaged and already thinking about how you fit into the team.
Once the adrenaline has worn off, take a moment to assess your performance. This reflection phase is crucial for growth and for refining your interview technique. Did you struggle with some questions? Were there moments you felt you shined? Jot these down. These notes can be your playbook for future interviews and also help in crafting your follow-up emails. By identifying your strong and weak points, you’re better equipped to follow up in a way that reinforces your strengths and addresses any gaps in a positive light.
Phase 2: The One-Week Mark
Gauging the Timeline
If the interviewer mentioned when you should expect to hear back, mark that date. Keeping it in mind helps you time your follow-up emails and calls appropriately. Being aware of the timeline sets you up to take appropriate action. Too early, and you might seem desperate; too late, and you risk becoming a forgotten candidate. There’s a delicate balance between showing you’re interested and becoming that applicant who just won’t go away. A well-timed, politely worded, follow-up email can keep you in the game.
Crafting a Gentle Reminder Email
Your email should be concise and respectful, reiterating your interest and inquiring about any updates.
Phase 3: Two Weeks and More
The Follow-Up Phone Call
You’ve sent emails and waited patiently. If you’ve crossed the two-week mark without a response, it’s time to consider dialing some digits. A phone call is a bit more direct and can elicit immediate feedback, but it should be used judiciously. If the call goes to voicemail, don’t freeze like a deer in the headlights. Be prepared with a quick, professional message that includes your name, the position you interviewed for, and a polite inquiry.
Engaging with your prospective employer on LinkedIn is like a ballet—graceful but impactful. Like or comment on their posts or share articles relevant to the industry. It’s the professional equivalent of waving across a crowded room.
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
Being Overly Persistent
Nobody likes a stage-five clinger, not even employers. While persistence can be a virtue, being overly persistent can tip the scales from “enthusiastic” to “annoying.” Dial it back; you’re courting, not stalking.
Ever get a “Hey, how are you?” text and wonder if it’s just copied and pasted? Don’t be that person. Customize each message to show genuine interest and engagement.
Timing is everything. Too soon, and you seem desperate; too late, and you’re yesterday’s news. Keep in mind any timelines discussed during the interview and plan your follow-ups accordingly.
Neglecting to Follow Up at All
The ultimate faux pas? Silence. No follow-up can be interpreted as a lack of interest or motivation, which is obviously not the message you want to send.
Special Circumstances: Group Interviews and More
Tailoring Your Follow-Up to Different People You’ve Interviewed With
You wouldn’t wear a tuxedo to a beach party, would you? Likewise, tailor your follow-up message based on your relationship with the person—be it an HR representative or a department manager.
Group Interviews: Is It Necessary to Thank Everyone?
In short, yes. It’s like attending a dinner party where you’d thank both the chef and the host. Individual emails to each panel member make a better impression than a generic group thank you.
What to Do If You Don’t Get the Job
Receiving a “We’ve chosen another candidate” email is disheartening, but it’s not the end of the road. Fight the urge to hit “archive,” and instead, take a deep breath, then consider crafting a courteous email requesting feedback. Their insights can be golden nuggets that help you refine your interviewing skills for future opportunities, and your professionalism in handling rejection will leave a lasting impression and can make you a strong candidate for future roles within the company. While you shouldn’t be too forward, it’s perfectly acceptable to express your interest in future roles that align with your skills and experience.
From the initial thank-you email to more advanced maneuvers like snail-mail notes and strategic LinkedIn engagements, following up is not just good manners—it’s a survival skill in the job-hunting jungle. Done right, it’s your stealthy nudge to the employer saying, “Hey, remember me? I’m awesome, and I want to be part of your tribe.”
To ensure you’re making the most out of every opportunity, don’t forget to leverage tools like MyInterviewPractice. Our platform allows you to simulate realistic job interviews and receive constructive feedback, ensuring you’re fully prepared for both the interview and the all-important follow-up. Your dream job is just a few clicks—and a great follow-up—away. Good luck!
How long should I wait before following up?
Aim for a thank-you email within 24 hours. If the company has provided a timeline, adhere to it. Otherwise, a polite follow-up email after a week is generally acceptable.
Should I follow up again if I still haven’t heard back?
Yes, but give it some time. If another week or two passes without news, a gentle reminder or even a follow-up call might be appropriate.
Is it appropriate to ask for feedback if I’m not selected?
Absolutely! As long as your request is courteous and professional, many employers will appreciate your eagerness to improve.
How many times is it acceptable to follow up?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but two to three times over a month is usually a reasonable ballpark. Beyond that, you risk crossing the line into pest territory.
The key to nailing your interview – practice, practice, practice.
As with anything, practice makes perfect. The most common ways to practice are with in-person mock interviews or a list of questions. While these options are a great place to start, they can leave a lot to be desired.
Practicing with In-Person Mock Interviews and Question Lists
One way to get valuable interview practice is to set up in-person mock interviews. Unfortunately, they can be somewhat inconvenient. You have to find someone to conduct the mock interview, and schedule a meeting every time you want to practice.
Question lists offer a much more convenient way to practice interviewing. Unfortunately, they do little to recreate actual interview pressure. In a real interview you’ll never know what’s going to be asked and this is exactly what can make interviews so stressful.
Interview Simulators – The best of both worlds.
With interview simulators, you can take realistic mock interviews on your own, from anywhere.
My Interview Practice offers a simulator that generates unique questions each time you practice, so you’ll never see what’s coming. There are questions for over 120 job titles, and each question is curated by actual industry professionals. You can take as many interviews as you need to, in order to build confidence.
|Questions Unknown Like Real Interviews|
|Curated Questions Chosen Just for You|
|No Research Required|
|Share Your Practice Interview|
|Do It Yourself|
|Go At Your Own Pace|
Our interview simulator uses video to record your responses, and recreates the pressure you would feel in a real interview. This also allows your to see how you perform and perfect your responses. You can then share your responses with colleagues and mentors so that you can get valuable feedback.
The better way to practice interviewing.
Simulate realistic interviews for over 120 job different titles, with curated questions from real employers.Learn More