Crossing the Finish Line: How to Follow-Up After Job Interviews

Companies are eager to hire— according to the U.S. Department of Labor there are more than 10 million job openings across the country. But there may still be a lengthy wait time between a first interview and a job offer. Studies show that on average, most companies don’t make that final job offer until 24 days after the initial interview.

Instead of just stressing about whether they got the job, candidates  can use any of a variety of positive ways to keep their names on the minds of hiring managers and other decision makers. Here are five ways to follow up after a job interview.

Write personalized thank-you notes.
It is still essential to write a personalized thank-you email within 24 hours of your interview to each person you met with. The note should mention something memorable about the conversation—a client you both know, a volunteer organization you both support, or something that came up during the discussion that created a connection between you and the position, or between you and the person who interviewed you.

A thank-you note also provides an opportunity to share information that wasn’t discussed during the interview. For instance, if an interviewer mentioned a project and you didn’t have a chance to say that you excelled on a similar project at a previous job, you could write it in your thank-you note.

Connect on LinkedIn.
After your interview, send LinkedIn invitations to the individuals with whom you met. This will help you build your professional network within the company prior to even being hired. Consider also sending LinkedIn invites to a few people at the company whom you haven’t met yet. Send a customized note stating something like, “I am doing some research on your industry and am interested in your organization. Your background caught my attention, and I’d like to connect with you here.” If they accept your invitation, respond with a thank you and state, “As I mentioned, I’m interested in your company. Would you have time to talk with me?” Hold off on mentioning that you are interviewing with the company. However, if you do talk by phone or in person, consider saying you applied for a job, provided your search isn’t confidential.

Reach out to the person who referred you.
If someone referred you to the job opening, be sure to send an update on how the interview went. Thank them for their help, tell them you had a good conversation, and let them know whether you’re still interested in the position. But don’t expect them to burn their political capital checking on the status of your application or pushing for you to get the job.

Ask for an update.
During the interview, ask the hiring manager about the next steps in the process, along with how many people are being interviewed and when the new hire is expected to start working. This will provide a sense of timing so you know when you can reasonably ask for an update. During that follow-up, a candidate can politely tell the hiring manager that they are fielding calls for other opportunities and might have to make a decision soon. This may encourage the hiring manager to take action.

Keep the door open.
If you don’t get a job offer and you’re still interested in the company, you should send a feedback email. The email could state, “I enjoyed my experience during the interview process, and I admire the company. Although I didn’t get the job, I’d like to keep in touch for future opportunities.”

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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