Playing the waiting game after a job interview is a huge pain point for job seekers. You walk out of your interview like a boss and you’re still waiting to hear back a week later. What are the appropriate steps to follow up without being annoying?
We asked our own human resources manager to tell us what he’s thinking at the end of an interview and during the selection process.
So How’d it Go?
If you are the type to want immediate feedback, ask! It's completely acceptable to ask how the interview went before you leave the building. Having a sense of humor helps if you feel that you’ve established a rapport (“so how did I do?”). But bear in mind that your interviewer may be bound by company policy about how much feedback he or she can give you.
Many interviewers will give some form of feedback at the end of an interview. For example, if a particular skill set is required for the job, and the candidate fails to demonstrate those skills strongly, this will be why they may get passed over for a candidate that did clearly show those skills during their interview.
Pay attention to the final questions! These could be an indication of how it went without giving too much away.
Following up shows persistence and thought. However, there is a fine line between positive persistence and stalker persistence. Write a single, individual thank you email to each interviewer within a few hours of leaving the interview. Don't forget anyone—they talk!
Phone Calls and Voicemails
HR managers are notorious for being nearly impossible to respond via email, so know that they’re also too busy to for phone calls. Don’t be disappointed when you call a week later to follow up and they aren’t answering. We recommend sticking to email follow up. If you must leave a voicemail, be as brief and concise as possible.
Earn bonus points by sending a handwritten postcard or note thanking the company for giving you the opportunity to speak with them. Whether you get that particular job or not, this is a memorable gesture.
Patience is a Virtue
When the deadline for a timely response has come and gone and you still haven’t heard anything, what’s the deal? It's likely not a good thing. However, things do happen that unexpectedly delay a process. The interviewer should have offered a time frame within which they expect to make a decision. If not, it is acceptable to ask. If they do not have a time frame, be proactive and offer to reach out to them via email within the next week.
If you still haven’t heard anything once the date has passed, send a brief follow-up email expressing your continued interest in the position. Then, exercise some patience.
Again, there is difference between positive and stalker persistence, calling for a follow up days before a given time frame demonstrates impatience or forgetfulness (or both).
HR Etiquette for Candidates
Following up with all candidates is critical to preserving the reputation of any company. However, it's amazing how many companies “ghost” candidates because they can’t be bothered to send a rejection/thank you for applying email.
If a few weeks has passed and you still haven’t heard anything, move forward with your job search. In fact, you shouldn’t have paused your search at all. Don’t waste too much time waiting to hear from one job when you can apply and interview for others. Take it as a learning opportunity and use it as practice for the future.