Contacting a Company After an Interview

A reader writes….

How often should I call or email a company after an interview?  I don’t want to seem over eager, but in the meantime, the bills keep coming in!

Dear “Constant Contact,”

Everyone knows that follow-through is a very important part of the job search process. Call after submitting a résumé, call after the interview, call to see if the position is still open…!

But will TOO much contact be perceived as annoying?

Is an annoying person likely to get the job?

 There’s definitely a fine line between too much contact and not enough.  On the one hand, you want to stay top of mind and clearly express your interest in the position.  On the other hand… nobody wants a stalker!

At the end of any interview, ask about the next step in the process.  Say something like, “How soon do you anticipate filling this position?” Or plain and simply, “What is the next step in the process?”  Or maybe even a bolder approach, “When would it be ok for me to follow up with you again?”

The goal is to go away with an idea of when you will be notified and/or how quickly you should follow up.  As interviews wrap up, the interviewer typically asks the classic, “Do you have any questions for us?”  That’s your cue.

Now for my post-interview checklist:

  1. Write a “Thank You” note and send it immediately.  NOT an email, but actually put pen to paper and hand-write a note.  (Grab a business card so you have the correct spelling of the interviewer’s name and know where to mail it).  This shows class, professionalism, and attention to detail.
  2. Hold tight.  Leave them alone for AT LEAST 72 hours after they have received your “Thank You” note.  Similar to dating, you don’t want to seem desperate (even if you are!)
  3. About one week from the interview, place a phone call (if you have not heard anything).  If you’re able to speak to someone and they say something like, “we’re just not ready to make a decision yet.” That’s a polite way of saying, “Don’t call us.  We’ll call you.” You need to back off and continue exploring other options.  Who knows, maybe you’ll still be chosen for the job…  but you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  4. Now, if after placing that initial call, you STILL don’t hear anything, limit your follow-through to once every 2-3 weeks).  If you call or email a hiring manager or recruiter every day, it is likely you will not be hired – you’ll seem obsessive. 
  5. If after a month or two you still have not heard anything, you may need to come to the realization that you’re beating a dead horse.  I would suggest you move on, but that’s up to you.  Keep in mind, if you have applied at a temporary staffing agency – where job openings change constantly – the routine outlined above may not be applicable.  In the world of temporary employment, you should stay in contact every week to let your recruiter know that you’re available for any specific shifts or types of positions.  You never know what might pop up!

Hey Readers, do you agree with this advice?
Has your follow-up helped or hurt you in the past?


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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