How to Inquire About a Job After an Interview

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The interview went well. You had a great rapport with the hiring manager, answered all the questions and felt confident you would be hired. But it's been two weeks and you haven't heard anything. You start wondering if perhaps you misjudged the company's interest -- maybe a job offer isn't in the cards after all. In this situation, an applicant needs to actively follow up and inquire about the position, taking care to avoid irritating a busy hiring manager or seeming desperate and overly aggressive.

Ask at the end of the interview when the company expects to make a hiring decision to prevent a scenario in which you're left wondering. You'll be aware of the expected time frame and might even find out if the company foresees any delays, such as the hiring manager going on vacation.

Send an initial thank-you letter within 24 to 48 hours of the interview. Include your contact information, a statement expressing your gratitude for the interview and restating your interest in the job. Send a unique note to each member of the interview panel just in case the panel members share their notes.

Email the hiring manager if you haven't received a response by the timelines indicated in the interview. Keep the email short and the tone friendly and light -- don't accuse the manager of being unresponsive -- and mention how excited and hopeful you are about the opportunity.

Call the hiring manager if you haven't received a response after a week. If you don't reach her right away, don't leave a message. Rather, keep calling until you can speak to her in person.

Mention the reason that you are following up. For example, you might share that you have a competing job offer. State that you would prefer to take this opportunity, but need to provide an answer to the other company.

Know when to stop. If the hiring manager continues to be unresponsive, it may be that the company is just not interested.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some industries expect -- even demand -- more persistent follow-up than other industries. If you are applying for a direct sales position, tenacity is a skill required for the job and is likely to be welcomed. If you are applying for a librarian position through an overwhelmed, overworked government agency, persistent emails will not work in your favor.
  • Don't leave multiple messages or send multiple emails. Understand that if the employer really wants you, he will find a way to contact you. One or two follow-up messages can be appropriate, but continued follow-up during an extended period of time might cost you the job and can even damage your chances of future employment.

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