What’s the correct timeline for following up after an interview?

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When you are waiting to hear back from a prospective employer, time can seem to stand still.  In some cases, the interviewer will answer your question about next steps with a timeline such as, “We will be making our decision by next Tuesday,” or “Our final interview will be conducted on the 22nd.” Answers like these can help keep anxiety in check and give you a clear-cut metric for follow up.

Unfortunately, other interviewers will be vague in their responses.  Common answers might be, “We will be in touch sometime next week,” or, “We will be concluding interviews next week and then deciding towards the end of the following week.”  The anxiety and anticipation that builds up during that waiting period leads many job seekers to jump the gun on post-interview follow-up. While you want to stay on top of your communication with an interviewer, you never want to cross the line.

Interview Follow-Up Timelines

So what is the ideal timeline for following up after an interview? Use these guidelines to help you keep in touch like a consummate professional:

  • Always send a thank you note within 24 hours: Your initial thank-you response should come within 24 hours of your interview. Everyone should send a thank-you note, no exceptions. If you forget, follow the rule of “better late than never.”
  • If you were given a timeline, respect the timeline: Don’t jump the gun and check in too early. Give the interviewer a one to two-day buffer, keeping in mind that things often get held up.
  • If no timeline was given, wait four to five business days before following up: Give the team plenty of time to conduct their interviews and always understand that it can take some time for them to make a decision. If you appear too eager or pushy, you won’t be helping your chances.

How to Follow Up With an Interviewer

When conducting your follow-up, you want to reaffirm your interest in the position and you want to keep your communication brief.  Emails are a great follow-up tactic because it allows the interviewer to respond on his or her own time, without feeling pressured.  An example of a check-in email might read:

Dear [Name],

Thank you again for your time last Thursday. I want to reaffirm my enthusiasm in being considered for the [position] and in my ability to bring value to the team.  Is there any additional information I can provide on my end to help you move the process forward?  I look forward to the next steps.

 Thank you,
 [Your First and Last Name]

When you ask a question of the hiring manager, it will give them a reason to respond to you, as opposed to a check-in note that does not require a response. Remember to always be tactful and respectful of the fact that hiring managers are busy and they are at the mercy of outside factors that can slow down response time. Gathering managers and department heads can often be like herding cats. Don’t let your frustration with the process or your anxiety get the best of you.

One way to ensure that you never get lost in the follow-up game is to work with a professional recruiter who will stay on top of the timeline and keep you informed of what’s happening in the process. Hiring managers are more comfortable being candid with their recruiting partner, making them much more likely to reach out to say, “Hey, we are behind, but your candidate is still in the running.”

If you are a professional seeking new opportunities to grow your career, OnBoard Recruitment Advisers would love to talk to you. We work closely with professionals in analytics, engineering, healthcare, sales, marketing, and manufacturing. We can help you develop your interviewing skills to make a strong first impression on hiring managers, connecting you with your next opportunity.  For more information on our recipe for your success, contact us today.

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