Barbara Safani 5 Comments

The time in between an interview and decisions for the next round of interviews can feel like an eternity when you are anxious to move your job search forward. But what can you do in conjunction with the interview process to follow up strategically and intelligently? Here are a few suggestions.

1. During the interview, ask when the hiring manager plans to conduct the next round of interviews or make the job offer.

If you ask this question during the interview, you are more likely to have some sort of benchmark to go by for follow-up, and the waiting game becomes more manageable. If you are told that the company plans to get back to all applicants in one week, then it would certainly be acceptable to call on day eight if you haven’t heard from the company, and remind them that they mentioned giving candidates a status update in one week and you are just checking in.

2. Send a thank you letter.

A thank you letter is more than just a courtesy. It’s an opportunity to remind the hiring manager of the value you can bring to the organization. Some candidates don’t bother sending a thank you letter; doing so can be another way to differentiate you.

3. Ask if you can stay in touch with the hiring manager during the interview period.

Sometimes a company’s plans for filling a position can be extended, particularly if it is a large company or if you are interviewing at a company where there isn’t a live job opening. In these cases, it is important to remain top-of-mind with the hiring authority. You can say, “I know you won’t be making a decision for some time, but would I would like to stay in touch.” Or, “Can I send you a LinkedIn invitation? That way we can stay in touch during this interim period.”

4. Continue to research company openings and movement.

If the position was posted on the company website or a job board, continue to monitor the posting to see if it was closed or removed. Priorities in companies can change quickly and by monitoring the status of the posting, you may gain clues as to what is happening internally in the organization.

5. Stay in touch with company contacts.

If you got the interview through a networking lead, stay connected with that person to see whether they have any knowledge of what’s going on in the organization. Perhaps the hiring manager has decided to add additional positions or upgrade the job you applied for.

6. Be patient.

We’d like to think that we are the first thing on the hiring manager’s mind, but usually we aren’t. Interviewing is generally just one small part of the hiring manager’s responsibility — and sometimes unfortunately, it takes a back seat to other pressing issues.

If after all the waiting, it turns out that you are not the person selected for the position, don’t abandon the relationship you worked so hard to create; just reinvent it. Find opportunities to stay in touch with the hiring manager. Many companies like to keep in touch with their No. 2 choice for the position because there might be a better fit for that person somewhere down the line. Every hiring manager you meet can turn into a networking contact and a possible resource for the future.


  1. Great post. I once conducted a small but telling survey of recruiters. Apparently only 5% of those interviewed followed up with an emailed or snail-mailed “Thank you” note! Although going to this effort won’t immediately ensure you land an offer, it does open the door to future networking, staying in touch and building a relationship. It is well worth the effort!

  2. Hi Barbara,
    Perhaps it might be appropriate to consider several follow-up behaviors and practices like
    – in addition to asking about the decision timeline, to jointly define unanswered or incompletely questions and items of mutual interest that can be shared. These can be sent in conjunction with the thank you offering.
    – strong confident body language at the end of the interview, offering a firm confident handshake and seeking information about addresses/business cards, expressing interest in the position.
    – keep the company on your “information collection radar screen” for company news, new developments and company culture identities
    (oral vs. writing culture, formal vs. informal, efficient chain of command vs. disperse, less coordinated authority, and new leadership vs. long-term management led organization). Consider having a CTS– company tracking system that documents the interview experience and observations.

    For how one looks for a job will resemble how one does the job.

  3. Dan,

    These are great suggestions…they turn the interview into a touch point and a networking opportunity.

  4. Stephanie,

    I’m not surprised by the results of your informal survey. And lots of “silver medalist” interviewees eventually make their way back to the winner’s circle and land a different job with the company by staying in touch. Thanks for reading.

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