You just finished up your job interview and now you’re wondering:
You’re walking out of your job interview feeling good. You exuded confidence, exercised poise, nailed your answers to each question, and even asked strong questions in return. You’re totally qualified.
But now what?
You’ll want to follow up, but you’ll want to practice proper etiquette first.
What to do after an interview: Your first follow-up
In a 2017 survey from our sister site, TopResume, approximately 16 percent of interviewers admitted to dismissing candidates because they didn’t send a thank-you email or note after an interview. Additionally, 68 percent of hiring managers and recruiters said receiving that note of thanks does matter — and will impact their final decision.
Right after your interview, fire up your computer and draft a thank-you email, or you can also go old school and write a handwritten note to send via snail mail. Regardless of what method you choose, you’ll want to send this thank you within 24 hours of your interview.
Here’s what to include in your thank-you note:
Thank your interviewer (or interviewers) for his or her time.
Reiterate your interest in the position and why you’re qualified based on what you learned during your interview. For example, if you really connected with the company’s culture, mention it and explain why.
Personalize your thank-you notes for each person you chatted with. Perhaps you went to the same school or have a similar professional background. You can say something like “It was great comparing our adventures in magazine writing.”
If you didn’t get a chance to ask about the next steps in your interview, you can ask that now. This can be done simply: “What will the next steps look like?” You should get a response that offers up a tentative timeline.
Here are a few items to avoid in your thank-you note:
Don’t explain why you deserve the job. Just briefly mention again why you’re qualified and that you’re excited for the potential opportunity.
Don’t offer up excuses if the interview wasn’t perfect. Adding a “Sorry I stumbled over my words so much; I was just really tired” isn’t a great look.
Don’t be pushy or assume you’ve got the job. It’s best to let your application and interview performance speak for itself.
Don’t write an essay; keep the note short and sweet.
Once you’ve drafted your thank-you note (or notes), be sure to proofread. If you need to, have a friend or family member read over it for a second set of eyes.
When it’s ready, send the email to everyone who had a hand in your interview, including each interviewer and the hiring manager or recruiter who helped schedule the meeting and any required travel.
The best-case scenario is that you have everyone’s email address. You can ask them for a business card after the interview or even phone the company’s front desk and explain why you’d like the email address.
If you don’t have everyone’s email, it’s not the end of the world. You can always send the note to your point of contact, likely the hiring manager or recruiter, but address the email to everyone you spoke with. Chances are, the email will get forwarded along.
Your second follow-up after the interview
After sending that initial thank-you, it’s time to trust that timeline and be patient. You don’t want to pester anyone; that’s a big turn off.
If a few days have passed since the company said you’d hear back, then you can reach out again. In this follow-up note, you’ll want to mention that you’re still excited about this potential opportunity. This is just a gentle nudge.
Ideally, you’ll receive a “We were just about to follow up with you!” email that’ll give you the answer you were looking for. Otherwise, your contact might mention the team needs another week (or however long) to make a decision.
Your third follow-up after the interview
If several days have passed since the second tentative deadline, feel free to follow up again. At this point, the team should have arrived at a conclusion.
If your contact once again asks you to wait another week or so, then trust your gut. If you really feel like the company’s interested in you, then you can reach out again. If you’re not sure, then you might want to hold off.
When to move on after an interview…
If you’re still not hearing back, it’s time to continue on with your job search. You don’t want to waste time pandering for a particular job, especially when the company doesn’t take the time to inform you that you’re no longer being considered.
There are more options out there, and you’ll find the right fit. It just might take some patience — and a few more thank-you notes.
Getting interviews, but not getting the job offers? It’s time to get some professional help to guide your interview prep. We can help!