How many times to follow up after a job interview?
It's nerve racking. You really want this job. The role, the company, and from what you've heard about the hiring manager, all seem like a perfect fit with your goals. You've done your due diligence on the organization's culture and everything aligns nicely. You crushed the phone screen or the first interview and sent a 'thank you' email and the ...... crickets. Familiar?
So now the question is how many times can/should I follow up? When? How? The answer is 'it depends'. It's going to depend on who you've met with, the role, and the feedback you've received. There is one rule that you should always use as a guiding principal. Your follow up should be more than another annoying check-in, it should always add something of value to employer and the decision making process.
So in practice, here's what the process should look like:
FOLLOW UP No.1:
Either same day or early the following day you should be sending a 'thank you' email to the interviewer and the purpose is two-fold. First, we always want to be self aware and conscious about the gift of their time and thank them. Second, we want to express our interest and confirm that at this early point in the process, we are encouraged about the interaction and very interested. You are adding value by signaling that you aren't going to waste their time.
Pro tip: Ask when you can follow up again in the close of the email. We always want to gain permission for communication where we can. No one wants to receive unsolicited, no value add emails right? This is like gaining a verbal contract to continue in the process.
FOLLOW UP No. 2:
At this point you should have gained a follow up date either through the interview process or possibly you heard from the interviewer/hiring mgr in response to your first 'thank you' follow up email. This is a great time to add that thing(s) you forgot to tell the employer in that first interview! Now that you have additional information about the role and company via that first interview, what is the experience in your background that doesn't come out in your resume that the hiring manager should know? If it can be qualified, even better. "In 2015 I led a project in San Antonio, one of your key market cities, that led to 178 new client leads that we converted at 64% and $1.2M in incremental revenue".
Pro tip: All follow up emails should be written in language and style that they can be flipped to the hiring manager or his/her supervisor. You want to help the interviewer sell you to the organization and they have limited time. They are busy and this is a great opportunity to help them!
FOLLOW UP No. 3:
This follow up is either going to be your last email pre-offer to the interviewer or the 'thank you' follow up to the hiring manager after the first interview with them. The process remains the same as above. All of your emails should be a value add and gain permission to continue. They should be written in language and grammar so that they cane be easily flipped up the chain of command.
Now is a terrific opportunity to add some industry knowledge that you have that the employer may not. Could be something valuable you learned about client behavior or a disruptive trend you have seen and have personal experience with.
Pro Tip: Your follow up emails could see many more eyes than your resume ever will in this process. In fact, assume that the Division Vice President is reading an email the hiring manager flipped and they have never seen your resume. If you had an opportunity to construct a single very concise email to sell the CEO on you as the candidate, it should look look like this follow up
FOLLOW UP No.4:
This is either a follow up after they selected another candidate or the employer has gone dark for weeks or even a couple of months but you see the job is still posted online. If it's still posted but been 6 or 8 weeks you can assume that either you aren't the right cultural fit, that your experience doesn't align well, or finally, you are not making a personal connection with the hiring manager. You might be able to overcome the experience question with some clarity in this follow up but if it's culture and connection, you are going to remain on the outside until something changes in the organization, and don't lose hope because things will change over time.
If they have selected another candidate sending a very gracious thank you and best wishes email can go a very long way. A quick to the point thank you and suggested that as their business grows/expands or needs change that you'll be interested in picking up the conversation again at a later point.
Pro Tip: I can't tell you how many times a new candidate starts in the role and immediately there are questions about their fit. It's natural. The hiring process is never perfect and we hire to about an 80% fit threshold. There are things that we don't see in the process. Your goal in this final correspondence is to position yourself as the potential solution to this new problem. There is as high as a 50% attrition rate in the first six months! Be patient, gracious, and thankful.
In summary, the more interested the employer is in you the more you are able to successfully follow up post interview but NEVER EVER take their time for granted and ALWAYS add value in your correspondence.
Be Bold. Be Great. Be Timeless.