How Long Should You Wait to Follow up on a Job Interview?
By Alys Sadler
When you’re following up on a job interview, the important thing is what day of the week the interview is and which day of the week it is that you follow up.
The best days of the week to follow up are on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Don’t follow up on a Monday or Friday.
The best times of the day to call are between 9:00 am and 11:00 am or between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. This includes those follow ups for an alternate time zone from your own as well. Be sure it’s their time zone.
When you have an interview, they will probably tell you when they will get back to you. If they don’t, then have that be one of the questions you ask when it’s your turn to ask questions at the end of the interview. They may tell you they’ll get back to you in a week or two.
If it’s a week, then wait until it has been a week and see if they get back to you or not. If they don’t then wait until the next day on (Tues/Wed/Thurs) to follow up and you can call or email him/her. If you call and they do not answer, firstly, note the time. It should be within the times I’ve suggested above. If it is and they didn’t answer the phone, make a note – maybe they’re not in the office at the time of day. Pick a different time from the suggested times and try again.
Under no circumstances leave a voicemail. Ever. Keep calling back to see if they’re in the office at a different time. It could be when you call, you may be speaking to a receptionist. Great! Ask him/her what is the best time to call that person and do that the next time. You could ask the receptionist if she knows who else you could speak with to get your question answered.
When you are in the interview and they tell you that they will let you know something within 2-weeks, then wait the two weeks and follow the same way as above.
I know you’re anxious and want to know by a ‘call back’ if you got the job. Here’s how you can rest at ease when you don’t hear something earlier. They are probably still interviewing candidates. As a panel of interviewers, they have a job to do day-to-day and they have to schedule a time to meet to review the candidates interviews to narrow it down. Sometimes it may be protocol for the interviewers to fill out forms to submit to Human Resources their thoughts/opinions of the candidates and that takes time.
If there is yet a second or a final interview by the ‘decision maker’ you’ll get the email or phone call when they’ve done all of that and have made a decision whether to make the job offer or schedule you for the following interview/s.
If the timeline they’ve stated for letting you know your status has come and gone, and they don’t contact you, they may have forgotten, they may not follow up with bad news, or they may. In any case you can follow up after the time they tell you has passed and as I said, if it’s a phone call, don’t leave a message. If it’s an email and you are not the chosen candidate, they may not email you in response to your email.
Be aware, they may send you a computer generated response that says that they have chosen a candidate that better suits the requirements/qualifications for the interview. While it’s not easy to hear that you weren’t offered the position, it may be equally as hard for a staff member to call you to give you the news, and it could be that they don’t call at all. Unfortunate, I know – but you already know, it happens.
If you follow up and get no response…
There is one more thing you can do before accepting defeat! You can call the company and speak with the receptionist first and tell her what you want. Ask her for a recommendation as to how you can speak with someone who would know the status of your interview. She may forward your call to Human Resources, and if she does be sure to get the name of the person he/she is connecting you to and their contact information to continue to follow up in case they don’t answer the phone either.
If you don’t get an answer and it’s been some time post interview, don’t be discouraged. Know that things happen and if you were #2 choice – well, what if number 1 choice doesn’t make it? They may call you later and see if you’re still interested. I’ve seen that happen many times.
if you do get in contact with someone and they tell you that you weren’t chosen by all means, be gracious. Thank them and let them know if something doesn’t work out down the road, that you want to work for the organization and would appreciate an opportunity to be reconsidered.
If you’re keeping a log (I recommend) for each job you apply and interview for, then just check them off the list for now. However, don’t get rid of that log or the information about that job/company. Follow them on LinkedIn and see if there is a connection you can make with someone. You can always go back later, months or years and take a look at the companies you interviewed with – check them out, see if you still want to work there and check out their Careers tab to see if there is an opening that fits you. Rework your resume and apply. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Love and light,