Ask James Caan – Issue 98
You’ve just left a job interview and it’s a position you would love to be offered, but what can you do next to help ensure that you get a second interview or a job offer?
The most important thing you can do is to follow up to reiterate your interest in the position and to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. An issue that presents itself, however, is this: how long do you wait before following up after an interview and what do you say?
This week I chose to answer a letter from Ewan. Recently interviewed with a company, he wrote to me asking whether it would be OK to follow up with them to find out where they are with filling the role and what should he write in the email.
‘I had an interview for a company nearly two weeks ago now and I have not heard anything from them, I thought the interview went well.
‘As I am not going through an agency for this position I am dealing with the company directly is it no harm for me to follow up with a company to find out where they are at with filling this position?’
Ewan, what happens in the period between the first job interview and the hiring decision will certainly vary. However, following up in some way, is essential. Whilst you can get a job without it, the candidate-rich market means contacting the hiring manager to reiterate your interest when others don’t, can sometimes clinch the deal for you.
More often than not, the average applicant thinks the interview is over when they leave the meeting. In fact, it’s only just getting started. It’s the follow up after the interview that separates the pros, like yourself, from the amateurs.
Yet job seekers often struggle to recognise at what stage is right to follow up for feedback. At this point, you’ve passed the initial screening, and both you and the employer have invested time to meet each other. After an interview, you’re entitled to hear something back from the employer within a reasonable amount of time.
Did you ask the employer what their timeline was for being in touch with next steps? If you did, and that time has passed, then you have the perfect excuse to politely follow up. Drop them a quick email or phone call, and explain that you’re still interested but understand that hiring can take time, and ask if they have an updated timeframe.
On the other hand, if the company didn’t give you a timeline in which they would be making a decision, after two weeks, I would drop them a call to reinforce your interest and politely enquire. It will show great initiative and will only reinforce your interest.
The good news, Ewan, is that not hearing back right away doesn’t necessarily mean bad news. Nowadays, it’s not unusual for the hiring process to take longer than a candidate would like, for many reasons.
Some companies purposefully wait a few weeks to make a job offer. The employer wants to observe who is really interested and wants the job by following up, to those that don’t.
As a typical post-interview process, Ewan, I suggest sending the interviewer a thank you email straight away. After the fifth day, make a follow-up call and let the interviewer know your continued interest in the job and ask if there is any further information they need from you.
After that, send an email expressing your interest in the job and summarise some of your strongest points as they relate to the role in question. From that point on, each week, politely alternate between phone and email until you’re told you have the job (or someone else has).