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When is the right time to follow up with an employer after an interview?

waiting-for-phone-to-ringStephanie from the University of Cincinnati asked: 

 I interviewed with a company a couple weeks ago, and they said I would hear back within a certain time frame.  That time frame has passed, and I am getting discouraged.  Does it come across as annoying or too eager if I send a follow up email asking where they stand in the hiring process?

Hi Stephanie –

Whenever you interview for a job, always be sure to ask about their decision timetable.  A question series like:

You:  Can you tell me about the next steps in your candidate review process?  I’m very interested in this opportunity.  What are the next steps, and when should I expect to hear from you regarding this job?

The Recruiter:  We are interviewing candidates over the next three weeks and hope of have made our decision soon thereafter.

You:  So, if I don’t hear back from you in the next 3-4 weeks, would it be alright if I followed up with you via phone or email?

The Recruiter:  Yes, that would be fine.

You should never leave an interview without inquiring about next steps so that you won’t be unsure as to when is the right time to follow up.

If you asked for the recruiter’s consent to follow up in 3-4 weeks, and you actually do follow up in 3-4 weeks, you are not being annoying, you are showing the recruiter that you are dependable and that you keep to your commitments.

Don’t ever promise someone you will follow up with them in 3-4 weeks and then follow up in 1 week or, worse yet, not follow up at all.  The former says you are impatient, and the latter says you’re not dependable; both of which are annoying.

If the stated timeframe has past, I strongly recommend you follow up to re-state your interest in the position and the company.

In reality, you don’t know whether or not employer has:

  • experienced unforeseen delays in their recruiting
  • been preparing to off you the job
  • offered the job to someone else and is waiting on a response
  • offered the job to someone else who is negotiating with them
  • offered the job to someone else who has turned them down
  • suspended recruiting to fill the position

The only way to find out is to ask; politely, professionally and succinctly.

Good luck,
matt-signature

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2 Comments

  1. […] When is the right time to follow up with an employer after an interview? […]

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