In a recent exchange of comments on How to Tell If a Job Interview Went Well, the subject of how soon and how often to call an employer after an interview came up. One of my wonderful readers, CE (who recently got a job herself), was helping comfort someone anxiously waiting to hear whether she got the job.
Speaking specifically to the question of how often to call, CE wrote:
I once got a job because the hiring manager said they would hire me if I quit calling them all the time. They said I was persistent, and they hired me! While I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone, I would recommend that you call the prospective employer back to check on the status. Anyone else agree with this or do you have another opinion?
Glad you asked, CE. I covered this a while back in After an Interview: Can Weekly Follow Up Calls and Emails Help Get You the Job? But since this question comes up so often, I figured it was worth discussing post-interview follow-ups again in a new post.
What You Need to Know about Post-Interview Follow Ups
Here’s a quick summary of salient points. I hope they will help ease at least some of the waiting pain. Whether you decide to write or call an employer after an interview, good to know what the hiring manager might be thinking:
- Thank you notes are a great first follow-up step. While I have hired folks who never sent one, it is a good positive initial follow-up contact and leaves a nice impression. (Although it can also leave a bad impression, so be polite and professional.)
- Show you have patience and professionalism by waiting at least a week — or better yet two (depending on the type of job) — before you follow-up after the thank you note.
- When you do follow up, make it short and sweet, unless you have something new and relevant to add. And keep that short too.
- Some of the very folks you are waiting to hear back from get over a hundred e-mails a day — many requiring immediate action. So if they don’t respond right away (or at all) … it’s NOT about you.
- Companies can take weeks just to interview the first round of candidates – plus there are internal decision-making processes that take lots of time.
- Some companies have policies about not responding at all to follow-up contacts. There are legal implications such as when responses are misconstrued by the candidate. And so these companies wait instead until an offer was made and accepted. Again this is not about YOU.
- After the thank you and additional follow-up, wait at least 2 weeks before checking your status again. Unless they tell you to call on a specific date. Or to just wait until they get back to you.
- If there is even a chance you might get the job, the employer remembers you – really! If there’s no chance … no amount of calling will help. And it may hurt your chances next time there’s an opening. So please resist trying to remind them every few days. There’s a fine line between persistence and stalking!
Hope that helps. Feel free to add your own thoughts about follow-up frequency. And thanks again CE and all my other readers who so kindly pitch in to help those with the post-interview OCD blues.
And last but definitely not least … congratulations on your new job CE! I’m happy to report she’s not the only reader who has recently gotten a job. There is indeed light at the end of the long interview tunnel!
[Post updated in 2020]
More posts to help you
About the author…
Ronnie Ann, founder of Work To The Wise and Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker.