Following up after an interview, demystified.
There’s confusion on this topic: ‘Does it matter?’ ‘What format: snail- or email?’ ‘Do I follow up more than once?’ ‘Should I send a thank you to each interviewer?’ ‘What if I’ve been presented through an agency?’ and the dreaded I-don’t-want-to-seem-desperate ‘How often is too often?’
It’s ALWAYS classy to express your thanks. This post will help with the subtleties.
Companies of >50 employees generally run their job searches through Human Resources or, in larger companies, Talent Acquisition (a subgroup of HR).
Your first interview will likely be with a member of this team. Internal recruiters are a lens into the organization, so take the long view and do your best to build a good working relationship. Internal recruiters are a gold mine of information and can even become your advocate: if this position isn’t the right one, maybe there are (or will be) others. They’ll be able to tell you.
AFTER EVERY INTERVIEW:
- Email a thank you: thoughtfully written, not overly long or smarmy. Maybe recalling a shared connection or a relevant skill you forgot to mention “by the way…”). Send this 1 day after your interview.
- Invite your interviewer to connect on LinkedIn.
- Follow up #1: put a reminder on your calendar for a week after your interview. On that date, email a quick note to your internal recruiter (or whoever conducted that first interview). Re-state your interest in the position & thank them again.
- Follow up #2: On the day you send follow up #1, put a reminder on your calendar for another week out (two weeks post-interview).
Important: follow up #2 isn’t just a copy/paste of follow up #1. Make it short + intelligent: tie in some breaking news about the company, reference a LinkedIn post your interviewer wrote or an article they commented on, mention an industry event, webinar or MeetUp that may be of interest. Offer to introduce them to someone they may be interested in. Pick one of these, or find your own tie-in. Be brief and engaging.
Most people just ask whether the recruiter has an update. Stand out by adding value.
- Followups #3 and #4: send a couple more (original) email follow ups, spaced 10-14 days apart.
- If you haven’t heard anything after these, let the opportunity go, unless you’ve gotten word that the position’s on hold.
If you’re a traditionalist and want to send a hand-written thank you, by all means do. Don’t rely on one hand-written note, though;
incorporate it into your email sequence.
MANAGER AND TEAM INTERVIEW FOLLOW UPS:
If you’ve interviewed with a team, email a thank you within 24 hours. This can be one email to the group or individual thank you’s, but do NOT copy/paste identical text into each individual message.
If you didn’t get email addresses in your interview, don’t let it stop you. Use an online program like VoilaNorbert or do some sleuthing: if you have an email address from anyone at the company, you can certainly figure out the others. LinkedIn is great if you’re having trouble remembering last names.
If you’re doing a lot of interviewing, you may need a spreadsheet to track interviews / thank yous / follow ups. I recommend using a one in my Job Search Guidebook.
FOLLOWUPS WHEN WORKING THROUGH AN AGENCY
There’s etiquette involved when you’re working with an outside/agency recruiter (ie. Robert Half, Horizontal Integration, etc.):
1) Let the agency follow up with the company (even when you think they’re not being aggressive enough);
2) If you send a thank you email directly to your interviewer(s), cc: your agency recruiter. Better yet, send it to your agency recruiter and ask them to forward it to the interviewer(s).
As an agency recruiter, it was my job to manage communication between candidate and company. When candidates got in the mix, it reflected poorly on us both.
WRAPPING IT UP
The best networkers look at interviewing as another (great) way to broaden their connections. You have, after all, spent time with your interviewer, maybe even a lot of time. Unless you really hate each other (unlikely), why not incorporate them into your circle of influence?
The person who generates goodwill by taking the time to send a note of thanks, who checks in regularly, who offers help in the form of useful information or connections always stands out.
Be that person.
Does your professional brand need a tuneup? I’m your gal.
Here’s a link to my calendar for a 15 minute no-strings-attached call.