How to Follow up After an Interview If You Haven’t Heard Back

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Is there a proper way of following up after an interview if you haven’t heard back from them? When should you follow up?

Dr. Bill Gentry

Bill Gentry

Director of Career and Professional Development, High Point University

Allow 7-10 business days to pass before following up.

If you haven’t heard back from an interview, and you still believe you are a great fit for the job, you should definitely follow up.

It is appropriate to email the main contact (whether it be the hiring manager, the HR representative, the recruiter, or the person who interviewed you) and in a short email (1) remind them of who you are, (2) what role you interviewed for, (3) when you interviewed, (4) reinforce that you are still interested in the position and highlight one reason why you are still a good fit (maybe even bringing up a relevant story from your interview), and (5) ask if they are still looking to hire for the role and hope you are still being considered.

It can be something like:

Hello Ms. Crews:

I’m Bill Gentry, I interviewed for the research coordinator role on Tuesday, May 21. I am still very interested in the position and given my experience using Python as demonstrated with the leadership emergence project we discussed during my interview, I feel I would be a great fit for the job. I wanted to check in and see if you’re still looking to hire for the position.

Sincerely,

Bill Gentry

You should email them no earlier than the amount of time they said it would take for them to let you know. If they told you in the interview (and by the way, the last question you always ask in the interview is around next steps and decision timelines) that it would be a week, and 7 days have passed and you have not heard anything, then it is appropriate to contact the person.

It’s typically good practice to allow around 7-10 business days to pass before following up.

And one last thing – if the organization hasn’t contacted you after the interview, you follow up, and they still don’t contact you, ask yourself, “Do I really want to work here?” It’s sort of like dating. The interview is the first date, you felt like there was chemistry, you thought more dates could come in the future. So you play it cool and after an appropriate amount of time, you reach out to see if you can connect again, but never get any acknowledgment in return. They ghosted you.

Would you really want to continue trying to pursue and date that person? Probably not. Well, it’s the same with a job in an organization.

If the organization doesn’t contact you after you reach out to them, it may be a sign of things to come if you end up working there. You send signals about your viability of being a great employee to the organization, but they send those signals to you too with all that they do or don’t do. So don’t ignore those signals.

Damian Birkel

Damian Birkel

Nationally Certified Career Counselor | Founder, Professionals In Transition

Use multiple mediums.

Send a thank you note (Word Document) via email right after the interview.

In that Word doc, you want to reinforce the key topics discussed in the meeting and reinforce your ability to do the job. By matching your abilities to the companies needs, you reinforce and strengthen your position as the “go-to candidate” for this position.

Your last several sentences should go something like this:

“I really enjoyed our time together today and look forward to the next appropriate steps. You will hear from me shortly.”

Your last sentence gives you permission to follow up because that’s what you said in your letter.

As mentioned, this is a Word document; a document that you will individually personalize and also send USPS to all of the people that you interviewed with. That’s why it is critical to remember to hand out your business card to every member of the committee that will be interviewing with, and you and in turn will receive their business card so that you have all of their contact information.

You send the Word document as an attachment to the quick thank you email that you will send to all parties that interviewed you ASAP; no later than the end of the day.

Print your Word document and prepare it for snail mail.

Wait for a minimum of 3 days and mail. You do this for two very important reasons. One is because by the time your hard copy letter makes it to the hiring managers desk, your email will have long since been deleted.

The second reason is because thank you notes are only written by 2% if not less of the people who interview with companies. You will shock, amaze, and please them. You may not get the job, but they will remember you in a positive and proactive fashion.

Time your first follow up call to the approximate arrival of your snail-mailed thank you note.

That’s because you will be fresh in their mind and still very impressed by your snail mail effort to get to them again. You are more likely to get information from a grateful hiring manager because you have made a huge positive impression, while the hiring manager is still paging through reams of digital paperwork to find the ideal candidate for the job.

Always remember that the hiring cycle is variable.

What is a reasonable amount of time for you, maybe barely a blip on the radar screen. One HR director told me that it was standard to not fill a position posted for a minimum of 90 days. That is why sometimes jobseekers get calls for positions they have posted for months ago.

Wait another two weeks.

Make another follow up phone call. Next, go to a trade paper or a competitors website and find an article in the industry that you think would interest the hiring manager. Cut that article out and send it to the hiring manager with a handwritten yellow sticky note that says something like I saw this article and thought of you and then your name.

Put your business card on top, staple the packet together, fold up, put it in an envelope and mail it to the hiring manager. Then, wait another 5 days and call again to touch base.

Finally, there is a fine line between being perceived as being persistent vs. being a pain in the ass. Walk that fine line with great care.

Ron Auerbach, MBA

Ron Auerbach

Career Coach | Author, “Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success

Ask the interviewer(s) when you can expect to hear back from them.

This is a question I’ve answered many times on social media, at job hunting workshops, job fairs, in the classroom, and elsewhere. It’s a pretty common one job seekers will ask.

One interviewing tip I recommend, which is in my job search book, is asking the interviewer(s) when you can expect to hear back from them. That way, you will have some clue as to how long it might be. Otherwise, you’re left hanging and wondering how long it will possibly be. So a good tip is to ask them for guidance since they know a lot more about this on their end.

What should you do if you haven’t heard back? Part of it all depends upon how long it’s been.

Give them about a week or two before reaching out.

As a general rule, you want to give them about a week or two. This is enough time for them to finish interviewing other candidates if there are any more to do. And gives them some time to discuss things among themselves.

FYI, it’s not uncommon for the hiring to be a team effort. So they might have multiple interviewers handling various applicants. And then going over their impressions as a group to further narrow down which one or more will advance to the next round or be offered the job. Plus, it adjusts for possible delays that may pop up.

One thing many job seekers fail to realize but are very important is that priorities may change due to a multitude of things. So it is possible the hiring process may be delayed for some reason. Thus, things don’t always go according to plan! And “emergencies” and priority changes can arise at any time. So as a true business professional, which is how you want them to perceive you, it’s customary to give them a certain period, plus a grace period, to discuss and get back to you.

FYI, if you reach out to them too soon, you’re demonstrating a lack of understanding what I had just finished explaining. That being your failure to recognize that priorities might change in a heartbeat. Or people might be sidetracked for certain reasons, even out sick or injured in an accident.

Being too quick to contact them may lead to the impression you’re impatient. And that’s not remotely a good perception to have! Remember, patience is both a virtue and desirable in the workplace.

Ask where things stand.

What happens if you’ve given them that week or two and still have not heard back? In this case, you should contact them and ask where things stand. And one suggestion I make to job seekers is asking them when you might hear something.

Call them.

As I started off my response, let them provide you with some guidance here! How should you contact them? If you have a phone number, you can call them. And make sure you’re both professional on the phone and extremely pleasant!

Do not remotely sound upset, frustrated, or have distractions going on in the background. This method of reaching out is the most personal. And could separate you out from the rest who use colder and more impersonal forms of communication.

Contact them with an email.

You could also contact them with an email. Make sure you’re professional in it. So be mindful of your wording and the tone of your message. Once again, if they perceive it’s not professional or unfriendly, that’s not making you look very good in their eyes!

Avoid sending a text.

Some have asked me if it’s all right to text them? In most cases, I would say this is not a good choice. First of all, some might have to pay for text messages. So remember, not everybody has unlimited texting! And we have those who get lots of texts, personal and/or business. If it’s a personal number, such as their cell, a business text could easily get mixed in with their personal ones and missed or lost in the crowd.

On top of this, it’s very common for people to take liberties with their texting. So when it comes to writing, texts are notorious for often being less than grammatically accurate. In other words, lots of people avoid proper spelling and use abbreviations, emoticons, and/or emojis. This isn’t how a business professional who’s looking for employment should be acting! And many will avoid or not watch their punctuation or wording. Again, this isn’t how a true professional behave! So my professional opinion is to avoid sending a text.

If you call or send an email follow-up, make sure you provide your name, the job to which you’ve applied or interviewed for, and how they can reach you. Although they will already have this information, a business professional will provide them with everything necessary so they don’t have to look things up. It’s also something that can help separate you out from others who don’t do this!

And finally, allow them some time to respond. They may not see it right away. And it might not be the biggest priority to them. So it’s very important for you to demonstrate some patience here. Thus, give them a few days before possibly contacting them a second time.

Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A., PHR Emeritus

Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources (Retired)

Send a short follow-up email after a couple of business days.

If a job applicant asked about the organization’s decision timeline at the interview (and it’s often an accepted practice, so the interview team won’t be surprised), that candidate will have a general idea of ‘when’ the HR folks might call (or email) with an update.

A couple of business days beyond that point (assuming that no news is received), it’s reasonable to send a short follow-up email thanking the interview participants for their time, attention, courtesy and hospitality. (Hopefully, you jotted down the names and titles of the interview team, so this should be a fairly easy task to complete.)

But remember, this is a thank-you note — not an extension of the interview!

Keep the note brief, courteous and to the point.

Do not mention any other job offers, since that could seem like some sort of ultimatum; and double-check all spelling, punctuation, and grammar before clicking “Send.” Attention to detail is important in most jobs these days!

Don’t be surprised if you get a ‘canned reply’ (thanking you for your interest) that states that another candidate received the job offer. (After all, the organization’s ‘short-list’ may have contained six or seven well-qualified candidates, and you’re better off knowing the outcome even if it’s bad news!)

On the other hand, the final decision may have been delayed — or the job search may even have been cancelled; and if that’s the case, they’ll likely let you know. With an expected end to our long-running ‘Bull Market’ looming on the horizon, companies in some industries are becoming more cautious when filling vacant positions. But once you know where you stand, you’ll be in a better position to move on.

Elena and Ed Windgate

Elena and Ed Windgate

Founders of Mosaic.ai

Always follow up with a thank you note.

You can’t even imagine how many times hiring managers hire the next person that comes in the door because of interview fatigue or some other reasons.

Always follow up with a thank you note where you state that you are interested in the position and how you can contribute to the project. Depending on how your interview went, you can choose to connect with the hiring team on Linkedin or even follow up with a call.

Include the essential concepts you discovered during your interview.

Now that you have met the team, include in your follow up note the essential concepts and language you discovered during your interview and from the job description. You can use Mosaic.ai to scan the job description to help find these concepts and conversational words to include in your follow-ups.

If you need to send another email to get an update on the position, try to be creative. But don’t overdo it. You could offer a link to your portfolio, or include something that you forgot to mention during the interview that could help sway the hiring team in your favor.

Paige Arnof-Fenn

Paige Arnof-Fenn

Founder & CEO of Global Marketing and Branding Firm, Mavens & Moguls

In my experience, the best ways to follow up are:

Immediately write a thank you note.

Immediately write a thank you note/e-mail to show professionalism, interest and reiterate any key points from the interview. If you promised to send along additional info or a link then do it here. If the timing was discussed during the interview then confirm it here as well.

“I know you mentioned a decision would not be made until the end of the month so if I do not hear back from you in a few weeks I will reach out again then.”

Follow up as promised in a professional way giving them the benefit of doubt.

“Just touching base as promised, not sure if the timing for this position is still on track but I am very interested and happy to provide any additional info for your consideration.”

If still no response I always give it a third attempt and recognize that this is not their main priority and I want to be respectful of their time so if there is someone else I should be chatting with to please let me know.

If being pleasantly persistent is not effective you may just have to lay low or try sending an article, white paper or link later to see if that prompts any response. Stalking never works. If you end up taking another position it is always a good idea to close the loop and let them know where you landed. Send them a link to connect on LinkedIn and offer to stay in touch, it is a classy move and they will remember you as the one who got away. Next time they will get back to you faster I bet.

Peter McDonald

Peter McDonald

CEO, Apprentice Hiring and Training

Here’s how you follow up on an internship position to stand out from the rest.

Write a one-page letter about how the hiring firm will benefit from hiring you.

Make sure to thank them. The letter should be about the hiring firm, not you. It’s not a cover letter, think of it like a sales letter.

Explain the problem you think the hiring firm has.

(hint: it’s probably a need for talented and autonomous workers.)

Most internships are designed to fill a talent pipeline and avoid wasting time and money on bad hires. Also, don’t forget to ask for the position at the end.

FedEx the letter to the hiring manager or CEO (or both).

Seriously, spend the $10 to deliver a FedEx directly to the people you’ll be working for. It will show them you are serious about the position. You can also have them sign for it and get an email notification when they sign.

Call the hiring manager/CEO or HR right after they sign.

Call to say hi and tell them that you are extremely interested in the position and if they read your letter they’ll understand why you’re the best person for the job. That’s it! Thank them for their time and wait to start your new internship.

Rudeth Shaughnessy

Semi-Retired HR Professional | Director at Copy My Resume

I’m sure you’ve received a lot of replies about timing and being professional in how you phrase your follow up email, both of which are critical elements.

Follow up within 2-3 business days.

Personally, I follow up within 2-3 business days as it shows ambition and attention to detail in keeping on top of things that require follow up. In terms of frequency, I’d give it two tries. If after two attempts no response is had I’d write that company off and take note not to apply again in the future since they are poor communicators.

Make sure to include multiple recipients.

My most valuable “golden” tip though is when sending a follow-up email, make sure to include multiple recipients. If you only email one person, it is easy for them to forget or just disregard your email as there is no “witness” so to speak that it was sent in the first place.

If you email your interviewer, and also CC the hiring manager or HR representative, or vice versa. When two people at a company see other coworkers on an email they’ll be more likely to take action, less they appear non-responsive to a peer or superior in their organization.

By tagging at least two people to your follow up emails you will be much more likely to get a response. Whether that response is the one you’re looking for, that’s a different story!

Laura Spawn

Laura Spawn

CEO and Co-Founder of Virtual Vocations

There’s no shame in following up after an interview for a job you were really hoping to land but haven’t heard back about.

Sent a quick thank you email after the interview.

Just after your initial meeting, you likely sent your interviewer a quick email thanking them for their time and asking them to reach out with updates or requests for more information or references. If that’s the case, use your next correspondence to follow up on that offer and express your continued enthusiasm for the position. Keep your message concise and specific, and let them know that you’re eagerly awaiting an update.

If you missed out on that thank-you note earlier, now is the time to send it!

Thank your interviewer for their time and offer to provide additional references or documentation to prove your qualifications. And if you can squeeze in a reference to something specific you discussed in your interviewer that will remind them of you—maybe a book you mutually enjoyed or a memorable story they told you about their career—that can only help your chances of getting a response.

Jason Yau

Jason Yau

VP of E-Commerce and General Manager at CanvasPeople

Checking on the Position

One of the best ways to follow up after not hearing back from your interviewers is to check if the position is still available. Send the hiring manager or the person who interviewed you a personalized and polite message asking if the position is still open, and reinforce the fact that you are still interested in it.

At the end of the message, you can suggest a second meeting to answer any further questions they have and demonstrate your value. Of course, you have to make sure it has been a decent amount of time before sending this type of message, as you don’t want to come off as impatient. Depending on the sense of urgency you got from the initial interview, a few weeks should be sufficient.

Rebecca Beach

Becky Beach

UX Design Manager | Blogger, MomBeach

Send a kind email response after two weeks.

As a UX Design manager, I like candidates to email me if I get too busy to follow up with them. I had to hire 20 designers for my team this year so had tons of interviews.

If the interviewer sends me an email then it shows me they are still interested in the position and I may decide to end up hiring them. That very thing has happened in the past!

One candidate that I was not interested in sent me a kind email response after two weeks. He said that he was very interested in the position and highlighted his strengths in accordance with the job description. In addition, he sent in more design samples that I previously had not seen during the first interview.

I was very touched at his enthusiasm for the position so granted him a second interview. Because he showed so much tenacity for the job, I decided to hire him.

If you follow up with an interviewer after not hearing back, it really helps you stand out among other candidates. Most candidates will move on to another job if they haven’t heard anything back.