After the Interview: Following Up

by sysop in Acing the Interview

by Kristina Burroughs

Following up after an interview continues to be classic interview etiquette. However, it is far too easy to cross the line and follow up too much. It is difficult to navigate the gray area of how much communication is appropriate with your recruiter or potential employer after an interview of any type. Here are a few guidelines that could help as you navigate the uncharted territory of interacting with a new recruiter or a new potential employer:

  • Guideline #1: FOLLOW THE LEAD OF THE RECRUITER OR POTENTIAL EMPLOYER

Recruiters and hiring managers are busy. Although you are important to them as a potential candidate for the position, you are not the only priority they are juggling. For example, if a recruiter emails rather than calls you, follow their lead. They are showing you their preferred method of communication.  They may have time for a quick email but not a conversation at that very moment. If you’re following up with the potential employer contact, the same rule applies. Respect their time and set up a time to follow up with a conversation.

  • Guideline #2: GIVE THE RECRUITER OR POTENTIAL EMPLOYER TIME TO RESPOND

Although recruiters and employers have every intention of responding to your email or voice-mail immediately, it’s simply not always possible. If you do not hear from them in a week, it is appropriate to follow up. For example, an email or follow up phone call every day is too much and will likely hinder your chances of moving forward in the process. Just because your ‘official’ interview is over, the interviewing process continues through the point an offer is made.

  • Guideline #3: MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR INTEREST

It is a good idea to follow up to reinforce your interest in the organization and position after the interview. If there were any doubts in the interviewer’s mind, you want to assure them of your interest!  The classic rule of thumb about a follow up ‘thank you’ still applies but speed is often better than hand written cards. Recruiters can often pass your electronic “thank you” along to the hiring managers via email quicker than they will make a copy of your card and pass it along. They may not get around to doing that.

The general rule of thumb for following up still exists but the delivery and time sensitivity have changed. Be attentive to the time and culture factors as you consider your most productive method of follow up. The interview process continues even after you’ve left the building – and up until the time you are handed the key or electronic entry card to the office on your first day.