Sneak Peak: Following up After an Interview

By: Rebekah Sack

We’re all for giving you sneak peaks. This book comes out super soon, but we won’t make you wait to get a look inside.

So, let’s say you nailed your interview, but you haven’t heard back yet. This post will talk about when you should follow up (how soon is too soon?), how to do it (a phone call or a hand-written note?), and how often you should do it (I left ten voicemails — did I go too far?).

When to Follow Up

Knowing when to follow up after an interview can be tough. You want to give the employer enough time to review your application and the interview, but you also want to make sure they know you are interested and are awaiting a response.

Employers can have very hectic schedules; sometimes, they need to be reminded to prioritize you — this is why following up is so important.

Hopefully at the end of the interview, you remembered to ask the question: “When should I expect to hear back from you?” or a variation of it. If the interviewer said something like “Expect to hear back from us in three days,” wait three days.

There’s no sense is following up after two days if the employer said he or she needs three. You run the risk of being pesky and making the wrong follow-up move.

If you were told it’d be a few days and it’s day 5 or 6, it’s time to follow up.

If you forgot to ask that invaluable question at the end of the interview, the standard wait time is about a week. Force yourself to wait the seven days, and then continue on with your follow-up procedure.

How to Follow Up

So, it’s been 9 or 10 days and the employer said they’d get back to you within a week. It’s time to follow up.

The best two ways to follow up are by phone or by email. If you do it by email, there’s a little less pressure to perform in the moment. You can sit down and carefully craft your message, which should be laid-back in nature. Something along the lines of, “I’m just checking in to see where you are in the process” should work.

Make sure you aren’t sending a paragraph — focus on keeping it short (about two or three lines). Often times, employers are very busy and will either scan long emails or only read what’s at the top.

If you follow up by phone, be polite and upbeat. You want to give the impression that you’re patient, but interested.

Say something like, “Hello, I was just calling to check in. How’s the hiring process going? Is there anything else you need from me to help you make your decision?”

Another option that doesn’t require any wait time at all is the thank you note. This a short note that you can send immediately following your interview. It can either be hand-written or emailed, and it should be a quick thank you to the interviewer for taking the time to talk to you. Make sure to use really good handwriting, though.

This is a great way to leave a lasting impression, and it might just be the cherry on top that gets you hired.

How Often to Follow Up

You waited the right amount of time and you emailed the employer. No response. What now?

First of all, don’t put your job search on hold if you’re waiting for a response. Keep your job hunt going and continue to do interviews at different places. Sometimes employers are so busy that they don’t bother calling people back to tell them they aren’t hired.

If you are being ignored, it’s possible that the company isn’t interested and either doesn’t want to tell you — lame, right? — or they’re too busy to make it a priority.

However, there is a chance that they either missed your email or didn’t get a chance to respond. The average person gets hundreds of emails a day; it’s very possible that your email either went to the junk folder or it just got lost in the clutter.

If you’re following up a second time, wait another week. To recap: If the interview is on Monday, the general rule of thumb is to follow up the next Monday. No response? Follow up again the Monday after that.

If you are following up a second time, be overly polite and humble. Instead of saying, “I’m just checking in to see how things are going,” switch to this: “Hello, I’m so sorry to disturb you; I know you are all very busy. I just wanted to send over a quick email to check back in on the process. Let me know if you need anything else from me.”

If you send several follow up’s and still aren’t hearing back, it’s worth directly asking if they want you to stop. “I know you are busy and understand that you may not have had time to reach out to me. However, if you want me to stop following up, just let me know. I don’t want to send you emails if you aren’t interested. Thanks again for you time.”

In the words of Alexandra Franzen, communication expert, “Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it classy. Most importantly — Be unexpectedly generous” (

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