How Long Should I Wait to Follow Up After a Job Interview?

How Long Should I Wait to Follow Up After An Interview?- Brooklyn Resume Studio - Career Coaching, Resume Writing, LinkedIn Profile Development, Personal Branding & Job Search Strategy Tools

Q: How long should I wait to follow up with a potential employer after a job interview?

A:

You’ve just aced the interview. Whether a phone conversation or an in-person meeting, your immediate priority should be to follow up with a thank you letter to the interviewer(s) thanking them for their time, and also reaffirming your interest in and qualifications for the role. And then, you wait and see, eagerly monitoring your inbox and phone for a return response initiating next steps.

Often I get approached with the question of how soon is too soon to follow up on the interview.

Best case scenario: You complete the interview and the hiring manager gives you somewhat of a definitive timeline of when you can expect to hear from them – “by next Monday” or “we’ll be done interviewing by the 15th” – allowing you a metric by which to gauge your follow up response.

In most cases, however, you’ll receive a more vague cliff-hanger of a response along the lines of, “It was great meeting you – we’ll be in touch shortly,” or “I’ll circle back after I discuss your resume with the team”. This type of generalized response doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of the running, just that you’ll have to work a little harder to gauge the timeline of the process.

General rules of thumb to following up after the interview:

  • If a timeline is given, be sure to respect that timeline. If the timeline approaches and you still haven’t heard back, give them a 1-2 day buffer to still reach out to you. Plenty of hurdles come up, including administrative hold-ups, or unexpected absences.
  • If no timeline or sense of next steps is given upon exiting the interview, allow at least 4-5 business days (a week) before following up, as it’s likely that they are interviewing additional candidates and haven’t yet made a decision. Over-eagerness bordering on impatience will not do anything positive for your chances.
  • Normally, if a candidate is being strongly considered, or in the final steps before making an offer, it’s likely that the hiring manager will provide you with some expectation of next steps and when you can expect to hear from them.  However, it doesn’t always work that way. If no timeline is given, but you’re left with a distinct impression that they want to move forward, or extend an offer, again, allow roughly 4-5 business days before following up.
  • Remember that HR manager and recruiters don’t always have answers, as they’re subject to the approval of upper-level decision-makers. Particularly if you are aggressively approaching your job search, or actively interviewing, give yourself a timeline of when you will pull the figurative cord on the opportunity in the interest of not missing out on other potential interviews or offers. Positive feedback is never definite – anything can happen between the time you walk out the door and the offer letter.

In each case, the point of a follow up is twofold: it’s an opportunity for you to reaffirm your interest in the role and why you feel you’re a strong fit, and also to maintain a presence on their radar as they’re moving through the hiring process.  Try this:

Hi Dana –

Thank you again for your time on Tuesday. I want to reaffirm my enthusiasm in being considered for the role, and confidence in my ability to bring a lot of value to the team. I look forward to next steps – is there any additional information I can provide on my end to help move the process forward?

Thank You,

Matt Smith

Ending the outreach on a question gives them an extra push to respond to you, versus a “simply checking in” letter.

The key here is to be slightly aggressive, but in a tactful way that respects the fact that the hiring manager, no matter how swiftly a response they may have promised you, is a busy person likely handling multiple job openings, and many factors outside of their control can arise and inadvertently slow down the process.

What Next?

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Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

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Peach

I got a “we’ll call you back for orientation and when to bring your sscard, etc.” so I think I fall on the third category. I’d like to follow your advice of following up 4-5 business days after, but it just gets me worried that they had forgotten about me and it’s just been 3 days. Is it alright to give them a ring?

That sounds like a pretty good indicator that there’s a solid interest in moving forward. It wouldn’t be wrong to follow up. But 3 days also isn’t very long at all – I’m sure you’re still on their radar, and they’re gathering things on the administrative end. But there’s no harm in checkin in, particularly if you need to give notice somewhere else. Maybe give it another day.

Peach

Thank you for your fast reply and advice. I’ll keep it in mind and give them a ring tomorrow. Have a nice day!

Hi Dana, how about following up after a second round and one of the partners mentioned how they’d bring me in for compensation/expectations discussions but the time that has lapsed from that time (3 weeks) was intervened by the end of year holidays.
I am thinking of following up today despite having sent them an email two weeks ago and nothing. Any thoughts?

fill_ocifer76

What if the interview seemed to go well (panel interview), but they still close with, “We’re looking for a good fit – skill set and working with the team. Could be two weeks, or it could be a number of months. We’ll be in touch.”?

BrooklynResumeStudio

Wow, that’s a pretty broad estimate on their part. That tells me 2 things – 1) they don’t have a big sense of urgency in filling this role, and 2) they want to take their time and look at a lot of different candidates, which suggests some hesitancy to hire, even if a great candidate comes along. And when a role doesn’t have a huge sense of urgency, there’s the possibility it could get put on the backburner and the funding allocated to something more critical. So for you, I would suggest keeping them on your shortlist and staying in… Read more »

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