When should I follow up after a job interview?

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There is a saying that waiting is one of the hardest things to do. Waiting for a feedback after a job interview is no different. For the first 24 hours, you feel an anxious excitement, with every phone ring bringing you at the edge of your seat. The next 48 to 72 hours without any news is pure torture. You start doubting yourself—whether you really deserve the job post. After a week, you’re in a limbo. Are you staying put or moving on?

You can’t blame yourself. According to CareerBuilder, about 60% of more than 3,900 employees experienced receiving no response from job interviewers. HR expert Steve Kane attributes this to “simple rudeness” on the part of the company. “Obviously, if someone is going through the effort of preparing for an interview, they deserve some idea of their likelihood of receiving an offer,” he told Forbes magazine.

The burning question

When should I follow up after an interview? There is no exact answer for this question as there are factors that you should consider. Did your interviewer inform you when to expect a feedback? If you were among the first interviewed for a job, you should allow time before an interview follow-up as the company may go through a number of other choices. You should also consider the industry you’re joining. Posts in educational institutions, including teaching and non-teaching roles, need to be filled out before the start of classes. There are banking and finance companies, especially those in East Asia, that don’t hire people in August, or the so-called Ghost Month. If you’re applying as a call center agent, your interviewer will likely say during the call center final interview when to expect a feedback.

Instead of obsessing over the question “How soon should I follow up?” why not work out things within your control?

Know where you stand

One of the most important tips for call center interviews, or any job interview for that matter, is knowing the job application process. Here are some guide questions for you:

  1. How many stages of interview do I need to go through?
  2. Who deliberates your performance at each stage?
  3. When does the company need to fill out the vacant post?

If you’re preparing for an interview, consider asking these questions from your interviewer. The best opportunity is after answering the final interview questions. For call center agents, the interviewer usually provides information on the application process. Nevertheless, there’s no harm in asking.

Show an intention that you’ll follow up for application status

There is a thin line between being aggressive and being a pest. Sending a follow-up email can give a positive impression that you’re REALLY interested in the job. However, making daily follow-up calls can be a total turn off.

After the end of your interview, ask your interviewer when’s the good time to check your application status. Would a phone call be okay, or do they prefer emails? “At the end of an interview cycle, it is perfectly reasonable for a candidate to ask when they might expect a response from the employer. That sets up a perfect opportunity to follow up with the employer if feedback is delayed much beyond the date given,” Kane says.

If you failed to seek this information during the interview, there are ways to follow up without being annoying. Here are tips from recruitment experts:

  1. Send a Thank You note after the interview.
  2. Make follow-up calls as limited as possible (twice a week is reasonable).
  3. Remind them that you’re still in the market.

It can also tell your interviewer that you intend to check your application status in the coming days. This is a simple way of asking the best time you should be asking for the interview update.

When it’s time to let go and move on

Sure, you need a closure. But there’s no way that you can force a company to let you know whether it’s hiring you or not. Jobs ad platform Monster suggests that you try to reach the interviewer or any contact person at least once, explaining you want the information before you consider other positions because this company is your first choice. “If you don’t get an answer, forget about it.”

In hindsight, not getting a response in spite of your insistent efforts to follow up suggests that you may be dealing with the wrong company.

Legal consultant David Parnell says, “If you find that you’re unable to get a response from them after a material number of attempts, move up the food chain.” Parnell suggests reaching out to the person you’d be working for. This will reinvigorate the process. Whether the answer is a yes or a no, the important thing is, you’re getting a closure.

Workplace expert Lynn Taylor agrees, “Read between the lines of a ‘no.’ Industry circles are small and you have better things to do than get a reputation of desperation. Do yourself a favor and move on with your work life, putting all that energy into a positive, worthy pursuit.”

It’s not you, it’s probably just the timing

Rejection can hurt, but you shouldn’t take it personally. There are a lot of reasons why you didn’t get in. According to Taylor, “For all you know, the job may have been reduced in responsibility, salary, time frame or even eliminated.”

What now?

If you got a positive response, good. If not, what are you going to do next? Let’s first discuss what you SHOULDN’T do. Never vent out in social media. Always stay professional and courteous regardless of how you were treated during the recruitment process. People have the tendency to post remarks on companies’ public accounts, permanently burning bridges.

Keep on sending applications to other employers. One stumble shouldn’t discourage you. This is also a good chance to assess yourself—how can you improve in your interviews? Should you choose a more corporate attire? Did you do sufficient research on the company? The important thing is you’re better prepared for the next interviews.

Kimberly Grimms is a futurist who spends most of her time monitoring social behavior in search for new consumer trends. She uses the information to create viral and useful content as part of the new media strategy. She’s interested with technology, market behavior, new media, environment, sustainability, futuristic scenarios and businesses.

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