HOW TO FOLLOW-UP AFTER AN INTERVIEW WITHOUT KILLING YOUR CHANCES

Have a great interview and really click with the people you met? But, not sure what to do to keep the momentum going? Following up after an interview can be filled with landmines. Done well, it can mean that you secure the next interview (or the job). Done poorly, it means that you can forget about the role.

There is a lot of conflicting advice floating around about the right way to follow-up after an interview. Here is the breakdown of your 5 options and a real comparison of the options so you can make the right choice for your job search:

1. DO NOTHING

Although this is the easiest option for follow-up after a job interview, it is also probably the worst option in most circumstances. The reality is that employers get an average of 70 applications per job that is posted. (with some receiving many, many more applications). So, you should always choose another option for follow-up if you are lucky enough to land an interview – even if it is a phone screen. However, there are times when it may not make sense to follow-up. So, consider the following when evaluating this option:

  • Timing. Never overdo the follow-up and be respectful of people’s time. Make sure that there are at least a few days between follow-up attempts and ALWAYS keep in mind the timeline the employer may have shared at the interview when developing your follow-up strategy.
  • Follow directions. There are times when an employer must stick to their timeline and you should follow the directions from the recruiter or hiring manager on this fact. Use your judgment and know that failure to follow directions can lead to rejection.
  • Know your interest level. Never waste anyone’s time by following up on a job you don’t really want. In that case, the best thing to do would be to follow-up to tell the recruiter that you aren’t that in to it.

2. SEND AN EMAIL

Sending a quick email to the person (or people) that you interviewed with can be an effective quick way to illustrate your interest in the job while showing a real connection with the opportunity. Consider the following when considering when or if to send an email follow-up after a job interview:

  • Customize the message. NEVER send a generic form email to follow-up. The message should be tailored to the individual that you are sending the email to and say exactly why you think you are a good fit for the role. Be clear and be specific.
  • Reference something from your conversation. Including a reference from your conversation with the interviewer can help to make your interview stand out while making you appear like a great listener. Try to include something specific whenever possible.
  • Keep it simple. The email follow-up to a job interview should be absolutely no more than 5 sentences. The better version of the email follow-up after an interview is 3-5 sentences. Anything longer and you risk appearing desperate.
  • Send it within 24 hours. Timeliness is key when sending an email follow-up. The faster you send it the more compelling the follow-up can be. A late email (i.e. one that is sent a week later) is often viewed as lazy unless you adjust the messaging or the specific conversation warrants the delay.

3. USE SOCIAL MEDIA

Not have an email address for the person that you interviewed with? A great alternative to send a follow-up could be to send a LinkedIn invitation or to follow the person on Twitter. Be mindful of the specifics of the particular interview and hiring process when evaluating whether it is appropriate to follow-up with social media to follow-up with someone. Consider the following when crafting a follow-up strategy to land the job that you interviewed for:

  • Use a professional profile to send the connection. Clean up your profile or make sure to use a more professional profile if  you have multiple accounts. Sending an invite from an unprofessional or inconsistent profile is the fastest way to a rejection. Find tips on how to avoid the most common LinkedIn mistakes here.
  • Customize the invite. LinkedIn enables users to add a BRIEF statement about why the person should connect with you. Use that opportunity to reference your interview or conversation with the person.
  • Be OK with a no. Some companies have rules for HR professionals or other employees about connecting with candidates during the hiring process. In fact, there are a number of reasons why someone may not want to connect with you on social media. So, understand that a no on social media may not mean that you were rejected.
  • Send a follow-up note after connecting. Take a minute to send a direct message in social media to say thank you to the person that interviewed you for the role for also taking the time to connect. Also consider referencing the job and evaluate whether it makes sense to treat this message like an email follow-up.

4. PICK-UP THE PHONE

In some cases, a quick phone call or voicemail may be the best route to follow-up on interview. Many people are uncomfortable with this option because it feels invasive or awkward. So, consider the following when evaluating whether to call the person you interviewed (or the recruiter):

  • Check on the role. Instead of a direct expression of your interest, use the phone call as a means to check in on the hiring process. You can ask questions like “Any updates?” or “Have any decisions been made yet?”
  • Provide additional info. You can also use the call to provide additional or new information about your credentials or qualifications for the role as a context for calling. This can also be a great way to open things up while removing any awkwardness from the conversation.
  • Be prepared to leave a voicemail. Know that you may not reach someone when you call and be ready with a statement to leave as a voicemail. Also make sure that you practice the voicemail (or at least know what you will say) before calling.
  • Use strategy about who you call. Recruiters or HR people that coordinated the interview are always the right people to call to check on the process. They are happy to serve as the intermediary and will share updates with you more openly than the hiring manager.

5. SEND A HAND-WRITTEN NOTE

The most traditional option is to send a hand-written note to each of the people that you interviewed with. This is a thoughtful gesture that can be well received when executed properly. Consider the following when deciding whether it makes sense to send a hand-written card to someone that interviewed you for a job:

  • Send it to everyone. People will talk and know if you send an email to one person and mail a card to someone else. Use a consistent approach with everyone to avoid the appearance of favoritism or that you didn’t like someone.
  • Keep it short but meaningful. You should write a 3-5 sentences in the card to explain: (1) that you are interested in the job; (2) why you are a good fit; and (3) referencing a connecting with the person (or at least a statement in the interview).  Never send a generic pre-printed thank you card.
  • Timing is key. Send the card quickly after the interview to make sure it is received promptly by the interviewer during the decision-making process. Consider a different strategy if the decision about whether you move forward or not will be made within 24 – 48 hours.
  • Be strategic about the usage. Owners of a company or senior leaders will often appreciate that you took the time, but they may not always be in the office to receive the card (or it may be read by their assistants). With these people especially, consider a multi-faceted approach to your follow-up strategy while also knowing that MANY people may read the card you send.

At the end of the day, the only wrong way to follow-up after a good interview is to send a generic or meaningless follow-up. The reality is that the right follow-up after a job interview is customized to each person that you met and should explicitly contain the following: (1) a statement that you are interested in the job; (2) why you are a good fit; and (3) something that you spoke about in the interview.

Feeling overwhelmed? The Contingent Plan experts can help keep your job search on track while helping you tackle the follow-up to interviews and salary negotiations. Learn more and get started today!

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With years of experience in the job acquisition field, Kathy has delivered exceptional service by providing in-depth knowledge about recruiting qualified employees, and crafting the perfect resume. The Contingent Plan comprises a team of expert recruiters, resume writers, and outplacement experts—all ready to help you! Read Kathy’s blogs, and discover simple tricks and tips to help you land the job of your dreams.