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How to Persist without Appearing Pesky After the Interview


So you got the job interview.  Congrats!…but now is no time to rest on your laurels.  Here’s how to handle the waiting game:

  1. Ask about the employer’s timeline for their hiring decision before leaving the interview.  This will enable you to follow-up with good timing: not too early and not too late.
  2. Follow up with a thank you note.  If the hiring timeline is short, email is best and—when in doubt—email is usually a safe bet.  If you’ve got time to spare, on the other hand, snail mail can be the personal touch that makes you stand out above the rest.   In this correspondence, it’s a good idea to weave in a piece of timely, relevant info about the company (which you could find in a blog post or industry journal).  Ideally, you’ll want to point to trends that you can maximize for them or obstacles you can steer them clear of.  Put simply, your #1 job as a candidate is to sell the employer on your ability to solve a pressing problem for their company.
  3. Communicate appropriately.  This means that there is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach.  Some professionals take days to read their emails and by then you could have missed out on a chance to impress.  Some recruiters would encourage you to follow-up using whatever communication method you last used in connecting with the employer.  Some will coach you to follow up with an email and a hard copy thank you note.  Some will steer you away from composing a thank you note that sounds like a sales pitch, suggesting that simple is better (especially if the employer is already sold on you).  Do your research, seek advice, and use your best judgement based on what you know.
  4. Send a follow-up enquiry if you don’t hear back. When you haven’t received an answer in the time the employer specified they’d follow-up with you, even if you already sent a thank you note, it is appropriate to send one additional inquiry.  This correspondence should be polite and to the point.  Avoid pointing to the fact that the employer hasn’t gotten back to you.  Just enquire into where they are in the hiring process.
  5. If—after this—you still haven’t heard back, move on. Don’t take it personally.  The company could be restructuring internally.  The position could have been terminated.  If you’ve appropriately followed up a maximum of two times and they liked you, leave it at this and trust that you’re in a good position if the job re-opens again in the future.