You’ve dazzled the hiring manager with your perfect resume and cover letter and aced your first interview. So now all there is left to do is wait, right? Not so fast! After even the greatest first-interview, there is one more crucial step in the process of getting the job: the first interview follow-up. Follow-up is not separate from the interview, but rather the final step in a successful process.
The way you go about the first interview follow-up can make or break your candidacy for the job — and we want you to do it right. You want to express your interest without seeming desperate and focused without being overbearing. We’ve put together some tips for success and a list of dos and don’ts to ensure that you leave the right impression even after you’ve left the building.
At the end of your interview, ask what the timeline is for making a decision. This will help you gauge the right timing for some of your follow up communications.
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Here is a simple timeline for following up after your first interview:
Before you leave the interview: Thank everyone you have met for their time. A warm smile and a firm handshake go a long way towards making a lasting impression.
Within a day: Send a thank you note to everyone involved in the meeting. Whether it’s a hand-written note or an email, get these out quickly to reaffirm why you are the best choice for the job.
Within the week: Connect on social media or through LinkedIn with the hiring manager and those you interviewed with. This gives you a chance to create a professional network even if you don’t get the job.
Within two weeks: The timing of this step will vary, depending on the timeline you’ve been given for when the company plans to make a decision. If you’ve been told that you will hear something within a week, wait 10 days to inquire. There are often delays in hiring and you don’t want to appear too desperate.
Stick to this simple timeline, but also be sure to adhere to the following dos and don’ts for first-interview follow ups:
•Do send thank you notes or cards so they are received within two days of the interview. If you choose to do a handwritten card, drop it off rather than sending it through the mail, as you have no guarantee when it will arrive.
•Don’t overwhelm employers with follow-up calls and emails. A single follow-up a week or two after your interview will usually suffice.
•Do make sure you are following up with the person who is in charge. This will most often be the HR contact or the hiring manager but don’t hesitate to ask in you are unsure.
•Don’t use any language that puts pressure on the interviewers or makes you seem impatient. Rather, remind them of your interest and what you have to offer to the company.
•Do have patience. The hiring process can take time, and the more patience you have, the more likely you are to get the job you want.
•Don’t be discouraged if the answer is no — bring the interviewers into your network as possible contacts in the future.
•Do be friendly and thank the hiring manager for their time, even if you don’t get the job. You never want to burn bridges.
•Don’t stop looking for other jobs, no matter how well the interview went — you never want to put all your eggs in one basket.
The entire hiring process can seem like a minefield that is difficult to navigate, but the more you practice, the more naturally it comes. Don’t think the interview process is done until you have followed up adequately and exhausted all avenues to let an employer know you are the best candidate for the job.