How and when to follow up after an interview

Completing the interview for that job you really want can leave you with a buzz of achievement. Naturally you can’t wait to hear a response, get the ‘ball rolling’ and find out what’s next? Waiting for a response can be a challenge of your patience, but it is critical at this stage that you show the best impression and through your follow-up to further demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate for the job.

At the interview:

1. The first step in effective follow-up after the interview is to be clear on the interview process. When is the employer looking to fill the position by? For some positions filling the role is critical for others the employer will take the time needed to find the best candidate for the role. When would your prospective employer want to fill the position by? If you are to be considered, what would the next step be? Are there any other stages of the selection process – i.e. psychometric testing, further interviews, reference checks etc.?

2. When you would be expecting to hear back from the interviewer? An interviewer will generally advise when they are looking to get back to candidates, if they don’t it is important to ask this question so that you don’t jump the gun to call back. There is a fine line between genuine enthusiasm and desperation – and by knowing the interviewers timeframes you will know when it is time to show your genuine enthusiasm for the next stage.

At the end of the Interview

Remember that out of the many applications that the employer has reviewed they chose you to come in and meet with them, so always make sure to thank them for considering you and for providing their time at the end of the interview. It’s not only common courtesy but it also allows you to build a sense of rapport with that person. This is also the perfect time to leave them with no doubt that you are genuinely interested in this role and why.

Within 24 hours after the interview

If you want to add a nice touch after the interview, why not send a thank you email?

Keep it succinct and to the point and professionally outline in a couple of sentences your thanks and genuine interest in being considered for the role. You don’t want to write too much or you will lose the engagement of the interviewer. You can also take the opportunity in that email to attach any further documentation that you think may be relevant for the employer to review for your application – i.e. reference checks or academic transcripts etc. And for those that still enjoy writing letters the old fashioned way, why not?

Now for the waiting game, when is it appropriate to follow up?

If the specified date has passed that the interviewer advised that they would call, then by all means touch base and see if there has been any progress. There are certain factors that may be causing delays, but at least you can know for peace of mind and also be aware of the new timeframe to receive feedback.

Should you continue to apply for roles in the event that you are waiting back to hear if you are proceeding with the next stage of the interview?

In today’s competitive job market I would say yes. It is important to keep your options open, especially in the event of temporary work so that if you are unsuccessful for the next round you can assess your options for what to do next. It is important to keep an open, optimistic mind in the job market; otherwise putting the pressure on one interview can be devastating if you do not proceed further.

What has worked with you in terms of following up after an interview or providing a thank you follow up? Even as an interviewer, what have candidates done previously to make themselves memorable after you have interviewed them?