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How to Follow Up After a Job Interview – 6 Steps to Take

Young male professional in a green sweater smiling while at a desk typing a thank you email to interviewer on his laptop

Are you wondering how to follow up after a job interview? If so, you aren’t alone. Having owned a recruiting firm for many years, I can tell you that waiting for feedback is often the most challenging part of the job search process.

The good news is that you don’t have to sit around and wait for the phone to ring. There are several proactive steps you can take to follow up in a timely, professional way.

Your actions after an interview can undoubtedly impact your candidacy, but sometimes, there’s just no update to share. While a delayed decision is unavoidable, you can nearly always receive a status update if you ask the right questions.

In this article, we’ll share six best practices to keep in mind, plus what to do when you’re still left in the dark after applying them.

Why follow up after a job interview?

The first reason to follow up after a job interview is to express gratitude. Most interviewers expect to hear from candidates at least once in the form of a thank-you note, so you want to check this box shortly after your initial interview to cement the good impression you made.

Sending a follow-up message helps keep your name fresh in the interviewer’s mind. It reminds them of your strengths as a candidate and ensures that you don’t get lost among other applicants, particularly if you were one of the first candidates they interviewed.

Finally, it’s an opportunity to receive updates on the hiring process and where you stand as an applicant.

What to do after your interview

1. Confirm contact information and ask about the next steps

The first best practice for following up actually begins during the interview. Before saying goodbye, always ask the interviewer to let you know what will happen next. Will there be a second interview? When (exactly) can you expect to hear back to take the next step? How will they notify you if they’ve decided to go in another direction, and when? Knowing what to expect can help you determine how soon to follow up and can reduce any uncertainty you may feel about the interview timeline and process.

However, you can’t follow up after a job interview if you don’t know who to follow up with. Be sure to confirm the interviewer’s contact information before you leave. If multiple people interviewed you, try to get all of their names and titles. This way, you can send an individual thank you to each person you spoke with.

If you cannot get their contact information during the interview, ask the main interviewer or person who coordinated the interview for those details in your follow-up email. If an HR rep or recruiter helped coordinate your interview, they can also be a great asset for getting this information. 

2. Send a handwritten note

Receiving a handwritten note can feel like a breath of fresh air. It’s a thoughtful, personal gesture that shows your attention to detail and dedication. I can promise you that very few candidates do this, and as a result, it’s a surefire way to stand out from the crowd.

Start by purchasing stationery or simple thank-you cards. Write a brief message thanking the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to discuss the position. It doesn’t need to be lengthy, as it’s the gesture that counts. Make sure your handwriting is neat and legible, and double-check for spelling or grammar errors before you send it off, as these mistakes can detract from the note’s overall impact.

As for when to send it, the sooner, the better. For an in-person interview, I always recommend writing it immediately after and dropping the card in the nearest mailbox. This keeps your conversation fresh in the interviewer’s mind while showing that you are prompt and considerate. When interviewing remotely – try to ask your recruiter or point of contact for the address in advance.

While a handwritten note is a traditional touch, it isn’t intended to replace a follow-up email. Instead, it’s an easy yet impactful way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position.

3. Send a timely follow-up email

Once you’ve had your job interview, waiting to hear back can be nerve-wracking. You’re probably asking yourself, “How soon to follow up after an interview is too soon?” There’s no exact rule dictating when you should follow up via email. Every situation is different, but I generally recommend sending one within twenty-four hours of interviewing. 

The hiring process may seem like it drags on forever, but companies will fill certain positions very quickly. So, don’t wait for more than a day or two to follow up, or the job you applied for could be filled before you do. Plus, most employers expect a timely thank you after an interview, so not sending one could reflect poorly on you as a candidate. 

One of the common uncertainties candidates face is how to write a follow-up email after an interview. Send a genuine note to each person you spoke with, thanking them for their time and stating that you appreciated and enjoyed the chance to interview and learn more about their company. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. One or two sentences are sufficient. 

Choose a subject line that will increase the chances of your email being opened, like ‘Yesterday’s interview’ or ‘Job interview follow-up.’ Another strategy is to go back to the last email in the thread where you coordinated the interview and reply to it so that there’s a ‘Re:’ ahead of the subject. While it’s not as clean or professional, it can be an effective way for your message to be seen.

Conclude the email by expressing your enthusiasm for the position and your belief that you are a strong match based on your skills, experience, and interests, summarizing your qualifications in one or two sentences. Finally, let them know you’re looking forward to speaking again soon and close with a professional signature.

If you haven’t heard back from the hiring manager, follow these step-by-step instructions on how to write a follow-up email after an interview.

4. Connect with your interviewer online

After you have sent your follow-up email, connect with the interviewer(s) on LinkedIn. It’s a quick and easy step that will help you stand out in the interviewer’s mind. There’s also the potential to establish greater rapport. For example, maybe you mentioned a newspaper article you just read during a question that arose during your interview. If it’s relevant to their business and they seem interested, you could send a quick note forwarding it along to them.

It’s also a good idea to think beyond the current position you’re interviewing for. Even if you don’t get this particular job, there may be another opening in the future that is better aligned with your skills and experience. If you’re connected on professional networks, they’re more likely to reach out if you cross their mind when looking to fill a different position.

5. Notify your references

Depending on the employer, having quality professional references can be essential to your job search and interview process. You should always confirm in advance that a potential reference would be comfortable endorsing you before sharing their contact information.

Then, it’s a good idea to let them know you’re in the interview process with a new company so they know they might receive a call or email. This gives them time to think about what they want to say — after all, you don’t want them to feel like they’re being cold-called or caught off guard by your potential employer. You may want to tell them a little about the potential job and summarize any points you may want them to stress in their recommendation.

Need help asking someone to be your reference? Check out these tips on how to write a recommendation request letter.

6. Keep applying

A healthy dose of patience will help keep you from going crazy while waiting to hear back on a job opportunity, but you shouldn’t get complacent. Don’t assume you have the position just because you had a great interview – even if the interviewer hinted at making you an offer. 

Jobs fall through for various reasons, like a unicorn candidate coming in at the last minute or the company eliminating the position instead of hiring someone new. Until you have an official offer in writing, it’s in your best interest to keep up your job search momentum. The more interviews you can land, the stronger your chances of getting a job. 

While following these best practices for following up after a job interview should put you in a better position to land a second interview or job offer, things may not always go your way. Here are some additional tips in case your post-interview follow-up doesn’t get the response you were looking for.

How to handle an unclear response when you follow up after a job interview

Don’t be discouraged if you’ve sent a job interview status follow-up email and received the lackluster “I’ll get back to you when I know more” response. As much as you want a timely and concrete answer, be patient and respect the interview process that the company has in place. It’s typically your best bet to respond with an email along the lines of:

“Hello, [interviewer’s name],

Thank you for the update! I look forward to connecting again soon, and please let me know if there is anything else you need from me at this stage in the process.

Best regards, [your name].”

Then, wait for the company to reach out if and when they want to move forward. If you never hear back, are really interested in the position, and have waited a reasonable amount of time without any updates (a good rule of thumb is after at least seven business days), consider sending another email to check in. You may want to say something like:

“Hello, [interviewer’s name],

After our last conversation, I just wanted to circle back and see if you have any updates on the status of this position. I’m very interested in joining your organization and think I would be a great fit for this particular role. I look forward to hopefully speaking about it soon!

Best regards, [your name]!”

Remember that if you have received and taken another offer during this downtime, it’s best practice to contact the hiring manager and gracefully let them know you’re withdrawing from the interview process.

What to do after not receiving a response

It can be unsettling if you sent a well-written, professional job interview follow-up email with no response. However, there could be numerous reasons why an employer hasn’t responded to your follow-up after a job interview. Remember, your interviewer is busy — they have other job responsibilities and may still be slowly weeding through stacks of job applications, conducting more interviews, or simply working on an important project.

Some companies even require a certain number of candidates to be interviewed for each open position, and your interviewer might be working to reach that benchmark before they can make a decision. 

If an entire week has passed without any response to your original follow-up, you may want to send one more saying something such as:

“Hello, [interviewer’s name]

I just wanted to follow up again to see if you had any updates regarding the X position. Please let me know when you have a chance to respond. Thanks!”

Best regards, [your name]!”

By making it a priority to follow up in the first place and then doing so again if a response is unclear or nonexistent, you can effectively stick out in an interviewer’s mind by showing your professionalism and commitment to wanting to join their organization! 

If you’ve sent three follow-up messages and still have no response, your best bet is to forget about that position for the time being and focus your efforts on other applications. Don’t get discouraged. Getting a new job can be a numbers game. The more time you spend identifying positions that are a good fit for you and putting together high-quality applications for them, the more likely you are to wind up in a great new role eventually.