Following Up After An Interview
As you walk out the door after a successful interview, you may be tempted to think that the interview is over. In fact, the interview ends later—after you follow up with the interviewer and anyone else you met during the interview. Following up after an interview is a way to demonstrate your professionalism and your interest in the position, but it is also an opportunity for you to gather information about next steps in the hiring process. Here are a few tips for how to follow up after your interview.
- Pay attention during the interview. Completing an interview requires you to be quick on your feet, and it may feel that you are acting solely in a responsive posture. Make sure that, during the interview, you manage to take notes on important things that may influence your follow-up. For instance, make sure you have a grasp of the key responsibilities of the position and the attributes the employer is seeking from potential candidates. You should also jot down the names of people you meet with so that you know where to send thank-you notes. If possible, collect business cards so that you can ensure correct spellings and email addresses for your contacts. If you are unable to locate an email address, politely ask someone in HR for the relevant contact information.
- Before you leave the interview, ask a few key questions. As part of the interview itself, make sure that you ask about next steps. Without being pushy, ask if the employer has a timeline for second-round interviews or callbacks; you should also ask when it would be appropriate to follow up if you do not hear from the employer.
- Always send a thank-you note after the interview. While it may seem like a formality, sending a thank-you note is a critical step in the follow-up process. A handwritten note is unnecessary in the digital age, but a succinct professional email is entirely appropriate. I recommend doing this immediately following the interview. Sometimes these things move quickly and you don’t want your thank you showing up after decisions have already been made. When crafting your thank-you emails, refer back to your notes to reinforce your suitability for the position and company. Send a unique message to each interview participant, and make sure that you proofread your messages carefully for spelling and grammar. These emails demonstrate your professionalism, but they also underscore soft skills—communication skills, relatability, etc.—that hiring managers value in prospective employees.
- Follow up with the hiring manager if you do not hear anything. During the interview, you will have already asked about the appropriate time to wait before following up regarding next steps. If that timeframe elapses without any update, it is completely appropriate for you to reach out to the hiring manager to inquire about the status of the position. In order to avoid sounding pushy or demanding, it can be helpful to make this contact by offering to provide additional materials or references.
Following up after an interview is an opportunity to build your own professional reputation. Even if you do not receive an offer for this particular position, a follow-up can nevertheless help you network and establish contacts within the organization for future opportunities. In any case, following up is a critical part of the application and hiring process. It creates a positive impression about your professionalism and polish, and it can be an opportunity to keep the employer motivated to move the hiring process forward. The key to a successful follow-up is to pay attention during the interview so that you can send thoughtful follow-up messages after you have left the building.
Mindy Mihajlov, Manager of Technical Recruiting