You felt the interview went well. The hiring manager gave you the impression the company wants to fill the position quickly. But you’re still waiting for a response and you are starting to get quite anxious.
How long should you wait before following up on an interview, and when you do follow up, what should you say? How can you follow up strategically and intelligently? Here are a few suggestions.
1. During the interview, ask when the hiring manager plans to conduct the next round of interviews or make the job offer.
If you ask this question during the interview, you are more likely to have some sort of benchmark to go by for follow-up, and the waiting game becomes more manageable. If you are told that the company plans to get back to all applicants in one week, then it would certainly be acceptable to call on day eight if you haven’t heard from the company, and remind them that they mentioned giving candidates a status update in one week and you are just checking in.
2. Send a thank you letter.
A thank you letter is more than just a courtesy. It’s an opportunity to remind the hiring manager of the value you can bring to the organization. Some candidates don’t bother sending a thank you letter; doing so can be another way to differentiate you.
3. Ask if you can stay in touch with the hiring manager during the interview period.
Sometimes a company’s plans for filling a position can be extended, particularly if it is a large company or if you are interviewing at a company where there isn’t a live job opening. In these cases, it is important to remain top-of-mind with the hiring authority. You can say, “I know you won’t be making a decision for some time, but I would like to stay in touch.” Or, “Can I send you a LinkedIn invitation? That way we can stay in touch during this interim period.”
4. Continue to research company openings and movement.
If the position was posted on the company website or a job board, continue to monitor the posting to see if it was closed or removed. Priorities in companies can change quickly and by monitoring the status of the posting, you may gain clues as to what is happening internally in the organization.
5. Stay in touch with company contacts.
If you got the interview through a networking lead, stay connected with that person to see whether they have any knowledge of what’s going on in the organization. Perhaps the hiring manager has decided to add additional positions or upgrade the job you applied for.
6. Be patient.
We’d like to think that we are the first thing on the hiring manager’s mind, but usually we aren’t. Interviewing is generally just one small part of the hiring manager’s responsibility — and sometimes unfortunately, it takes a back seat to other pressing issues.
If after all the waiting, it turns out that you are not the person selected for the position, don’t abandon the relationship you worked so hard to create; just reinvent it. Find opportunities to stay in touch with the hiring manager. Many companies like to keep in touch with their No. 2 choice for the position because there might be a better fit for that person somewhere down the line. Every hiring manager you meet can turn into a networking contact and a possible resource for the future.