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Following Up After Your Job Interview the Right Way

Following Up After Your Job Interview the Right Way
Credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

When you go on a job interview, sometimes it takes a while for the hiring manager or human resources department to get back to you. Waiting to hear the next steps or whether you'll be offered the job can often be more stressful than the interview itself.

To ease your anxiety about the situation, you may consider following up with the interviewer or HR rep to find out where they are in the hiring process. But you don't want to appear pushy or overbearing; it might ruin the good impression you already made.

Business News Daily spoke with hiring and HR experts about the polite, professional and proper way to follow up after a job interview.

Following up post-interview is a key component of the job search. Reaching out "projects your level of interest and commitment to the position at hand," Jill Gaynor, an employee engagement and training expert, said in an interview with The Ladders.

"A call [or email] to the hiring manager can bring your name and resume to his or her attention, and separate you from the [other applicants]," she said.

A good first step is to send a thank-you note to the person who interviewed you, preferably via email within 24 hours.

"A job candidate should always send thank-you emails right after an interview," said Kristen Kenny, vice president of people and talent at car search website CarGurus.

Sending the note gives candidates an opportunity to express their interest in the position and company, as well as share any additional information that they may have forgotten to mention during the interview, Kenny added. [See Related Story: After the Interview: Sample Thank You Letters]

While interviewing, candidates should ask about the next steps and timeline for the hiring process as a way to understand when they should reconnect with a hiring manager.

If no time frame is specified, JD Conway, senior talent acquisition partner at BambooHR, suggested waiting four to seven days after your initial thank you note before contacting the company again.

"Every company's hiring process is completely different," Conway said."Most [recruiters] are trying to keep in contact with anywhere from around 50 to hundreds of candidates at that same time. Just because it's been a few days doesn't mean they aren't planning on considering you [for the job]."

If a timeline is discussed during the initial interview process, candidates should respect what the interviewer told them.

"An applicant should not follow up within five days if they're told that a hiring decision is going to be made within two weeks," Kenny said. "Instead, they should show patience and an understanding of deadlines by waiting closer to the two-week mark before reconnecting."

Following up can be uncomfortable. It can be hard to gauge where you stand, and if you're getting radio silence from the hiring manager, you might second-guess yourself.

Conway said candidates often have trepidation about reaching out and "bothering" someone. And sometimes, recruiters don't have updates of their own to give, which causes a natural delay that can feel awkward, he said.

At the same time, "there are also recruiters that are too passive in telling candidates 'no,'" Conway added. However, the best recruiters won't let having to tell a candidate "no" hold them back from swift, transparent communication.

It's also good to keep in mind that it's not always you — sometimes, it's them.

"When you're not hearing something [from a hiring manager], often it has more to do with internal decisions and processes than it does you," said Maxie McCoy, a career expert. "Remember, this is professional, and put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes. Checking in is a good thing. Just make sure to do it in a way that is respectful of someone's time."

"It's all about being sweetly persistent," Conway added. "And if the HR team seems annoyed that you're (kindly) holding them accountable, you might want to rethink whether that's a company you want to work for."

Shannon Gausepohl

Shannon Gausepohl graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in journalism. She has worked at a newspaper and in the public relations field, and is currently a staff writer at Business News Daily. Shannon is a zealous bookworm, has her blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and loves her Blue Heeler mix, Tucker.