Landed an interview at a company? Congrats! Dedicated time to research the role and prepare questions to ask your interviewer? Smart! Assuming they will let you know what happens next? Nope.
Following up after your meeting matters almost as much as the interview itself, and yet many people opt to do nothing for fear of making the wrong move.
But doing nothing is the wrong move because it increases your chances of being forgotten. With the right tactics, you will stay top of mind, and impress the hiring manager.
These five tips will help you follow up tactfully and effectively after your next interview:
1. Ask about next steps during the interview.
While working as a recruiter, I was always shocked by how few people ask about next steps during the interview. When you get to the end of your interview, it is not only appropriate but necessary to ask about what comes next—it shows that you’re committed to the process and proactive about your responsibilities. If the interviewer tells you that they just started the interview process and will make a decision within the next two weeks, you can put your mind at ease if you don’t hear anything for a few days. Remember that recruiters are working with all of the different schedules of the interviewee and the interviewers, which can slow down the process. Or sometimes the hiring manager gets called out of the office for a few days, and making a hire gets bumped down the priority list.
Whatever the case, it’s always good to clarify timelines during this “next steps” stage so that you know what to expect and can plan on following up accordingly.
2. Send a thank you note, ASAP.
This is a tip that is given over and over again. Why? Because it works. Make sure you send your note within 24 hours—it shows your excitement about the company and the role, and confirms that the interview went well. An email is perfectly acceptable (no need for snail mail!), but avoid going through the motions—employers will see right through a generic note. Instead, tailor your message to the specific interviewer and company by including the following:
- Your appreciation for the meeting (here’s where you say “thanks!”)
- Name 2-3 specific items you discussed during the interview
- Why you are excited about the opportunity
- A brief explanation about why you’d be a good fit for the job
3. Connect with your interviewer on LinkedIn.
If you haven’t done this already, do so now. Not only does it give the interviewer another look at your experience and recommendations, but it’s also a way to further showcase your interest in the job/company/industry. Follow the company you’re interviewing for, and share interesting articles about the industry.
Regardless of whether you get the job, connecting on LinkedIn is a great way to start building a long-term relationship.
4. Send a second email.
Since you already asked about the decision timeline during your interview (right?!), you have an idea around when it would be appropriate to send a follow-up email. If your potential employer said they would be interviewing candidates for the next week, then send a second email around day 9. And don’t forget to reply promptly if you get a response!
5. Be patient, don’t harass.
I know you’re anxious and the waiting game is the hardest part, but recruiters, HR personnel, hiring managers, etc. are doing more than just waiting to give you a call. The periodic check-in is something many people struggle with since the rules around it are very vague.
After you’ve sent your “official” follow-up email, send periodic check-ins in order to stay engaged with your interviewer. These check-ins are not about asking for something (“So when can I hear about a decision?”) but rather, about offering something of value which naturally keeps you on his or her radar.
Something of value could be an interesting article that circles back to something you two chatted about in your interview or thanking her for some advice she previously gave you that you implemented in some way. Keep the email brief with no ask. Your only goal is to stay on her radar.
When it comes down to it, the interview is more than just the time you spend face-to-face talking to a potential employer. Make sure you’re equally prepared with a post-interview plan and remember that people are busy, so don’t be shy about making an effort to stay on their radar!
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