Follow Up Faux Pas: How to Handle The Weeks Following Your Interview

When the time comes for a job interview, there are plenty of ways you can feel prepared. Practicing responses for common interview questions, researching information relevant to the position at hand, and perfecting your professional appearance give you confidence as you walk into the HR office (or sign into your Zoom interview) and give you a great shot at making a positive impression. However, once the interview ends and you head into the waiting period, it’s easy to assume that you’ve done all you can and it’s “luck of the draw” from this point until you receive the call that you did/didn’t get the job. In reality, there are still things you can do to give yourself a leg up in the hiring process. Following up after an interview can be a great way to further connect with a potential employer (or their HR staff), but there is proper etiquette to the process of post-interview follow up and failing to remember them could cost you a hire.

One of the primary ways applicants follow up actually starts before they ever leave the initial interview. Before you close out the interview, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask about a possible time frame for when you’ll hear back about results. Often, interviewers can let you know if they have more applicants to interview, if the employer will be making the final selection by X date, etc., and this lets you know how to best follow up. If they tell you up front that they have a large number of applicants left to process, you know that they’ll likely be working on the hire for several more weeks, and following up only a couple of days after the interview would appear over-eager and pushy. Timing is everything!

After you have been given an idea of the time frame for the interviews, you can determine how you’d like to be in touch with the employer. The most common method is by way of a thank you letter for the opportunity to apply with the company. There are three ways to go about this: an email, a handwritten letter or note, or a phone call. Out of those choices, a phone call is the LEAST preferred among hiring experts, as it can seem intrusive and be bothersome to employers rather than impressive. An email is actually the top choice for many since it’s formal enough to be effective but since it can be read on the interviewer’s own time and not forced on them like a phone call, it makes a better impression. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd a hand-written letter on professional letterhead or a crisp, natural card can be a good option. Note: if, and only if, the interviewer was especially interested in something on your resume (such as a project, internship, volunteer work, etc.) you could attach a concise and well-organized presentation to your thank-you email giving them a bit more information.

For following up, there are also some things you shouldn’t do as an applicant, and those are just as important to remember. Never show up in person to inquire about the status of your application or results of your interview. This comes across as far too zealous, and not in the way that will impress a future boss. You also need to be mindful of the time frame you choose for following up. Contacting the employer on the exact deadline you were originally given is actually not the best option, as interviewers are probably busy tying up loose ends from applications and interviews, and also have their regular daily tasks to complete at work. Assuming that making the hire is their ONLY job can appear selfish and won’t be taken kindly. Instead, wait a day or two after the initial deadline to follow up. Finally, never follow up with the employer or interviewer directly if you are utilizing a staffing agency or hiring service. There is a reason the employer chose to go this route, and neither they nor the hiring agency will appreciate you overstepping your boundaries and skipping steps in the process.

We know the application and interview process can be intense and nerve-wracking, and that’s why PHR Staffing Solutions is here to make the process as smooth as possible for everyone involved. Our job is to make sure you get hired, and we do that through overseeing your application, background checks, and more. If you get the interview, we offer support to prepare you for it, and give you the best chance at being successful with the HR staff. Finally, once you get the job, we continue to work with you as you adjust to your new position and settle in. We are your one stop for all staffing needs. Give us a call or apply for any of our current openings online!