We’re often asked about exactly how and when to follow up after an interview.
Particularly when interviewing for an executive-level position, the follow up process can be tricky.
You want to show your continued interest in the position and remain at the forefront of your interviewer’s mind, but you don’t want to be annoying.
To ensure you strike that delicate balance, here are our post-interview best practices, including when to follow up after interviews.
Always ask the employer about their timeline to guide you when you follow up after interviews
The hiring manager will usually address their timeline before ending the interview. If not, make sure you ask about the timeline for when a decision will be made and who will be contacting you with the final decision.
Ensure you have this person’s contact information as well as the contact information for all people with whom you interview.
You can usually find people’s contact information online if it’s not provided. Most executive assistants will provide it as well (if they won’t they’re usually willing to forward on thank you notes if asked).
Your follow up should start with thank-you notes sent immediately after your interviews
Whether you’re interviewing for an executive position or an entry-level job, you should always follow-up with a thank-you note.
You’d be amazed how few people actually take the time to do it. It’s not only common courtesy but also sets you apart.
If you get the job the people you’re interviewing with could become your coworkers, so it never hurts to show respect.
However, when applying for an executive-level position, you’ll need to go a few steps further.
The same day as your interview, send an email to every person who interviewed you.
Start by thanking them for taking time out of their day to meet with you, reaffirm your interest in the position, mention something that you discussed with that individual and remind them of why you would be a good fit for the role.
The interview panel may compare notes on your follow-up emails, so make sure each email is customized.
If you just copy and paste the same text, you may come off as apathetic and unimaginative.
Here’s an example follow up thank you email:
Thank you so much your time yesterday as part of the interview process for the Director of Applications position. After learning more about your organizational culture and plans for digital transformation, I am even more excited about the opportunity and how I can add value to the team. I’m looking forward to next steps in the process.
It’s also a good idea to go a step further and send a handwritten thank-you note if you really want to stand out.
Your handwritten note does not need to be as detailed as your email, but simply expressing your gratitude for their time and consideration on nice stationery will help set you apart from other candidates.
How to follow up after an interview when you haven’t heard back
If you’re working with an executive recruiter, always check-in with them before contacting the organization directly.
Your executive recruiter should be able to get more information from the company and can help put your mind at ease about whether or not a decision has been made.
If you’re not working with a recruiter you should follow up directly with the organization if you haven’t heard back from the organization by the expected date.
To follow up, send an email to the person who was supposed to contact you about the decision.
Explain that you’re following up on the interview, reaffirm your interest in the position and ask for an update.
Keep it short, positive and to the point.
Here’s an example:
I hope you’re doing well. I remain extremely interested in the Director of Applications position, and wanted to check in. Please let me know if you need anything else from me to help in the decision-making process. I look forward to hearing back from you.
We’re often asked if you should make a follow up phone call after your interview. The answer really is, it depends. An email can feel less intrusive and allows the hiring manager to respond at a time that’s most convenient. That said, some hiring managers feel that calling shows more initiative. Ultimately, it comes down to your comfort level on the phone.
If you decide to email don’t also call (and vice versa). One communication method at a time is sufficient.
Here’s an example script for a follow-up phone call:
“Hi Leon. This is Amy Smith. How are you? I’m calling to check-in about the Director Of Applications position. Do you have just a moment? (If “yes”) I remain extremely interested in the position and wanted to check-in to see if you’ve made a hiring decision?”
If “No” then consider asking “Is there anything else you need from me to help in the decision-making process?”
When to follow up after an interview
Many organizations end up taking longer than expected to make hiring decisions. Not hearing back isn’t always a sign you didn’t get the job.
You may want to give the organization a few extra days past the date they gave you before following up.
If you still don’t hear back, wait one week and then send an email similar to the one above.
Stay in touch if you don’t get the job
If you don’t get the job, but you’re still interested in working for the company, then stay in touch.
This will not be appropriate for all situations, but if you feel that any of the people who interviewed you would be receptive to connecting on social media, then send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
Send periodic emails or LinkedIn messages to those you connected with during your interview process.
Make sure these are worthwhile communications. Share articles they may find valuable or offer congratulations on accomplishments. Consider leaving thoughtful comments on posts they share.
Don’t reach out more than once every month or two. You want to stay relevant, but you don’t want to be irritating.
Final thoughts on how to follow up after your interviews
As mentioned, sending a thank you note after your interview is a critical first step if you want to stand out. After that, it’s important to analyze the situation and adjust your communications accordingly.
Ultimately you want to use follow up after your interviews to build rapport and goodwill if you ultimately get hired, and to keep the door open if you’re not offered the job.
Need help? Get ahead with a one-on-one career coach guiding you through your job search. Learn more at kirbypartners.com/executive-career-coaching.
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