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How to Politely Ask for an Interview Decision

by Ellie Williams, studioD

It can take days or weeks to hear back following a job interview, especially if the company uses multiple rounds of interviews or if the decision involves several people. You don’t have to sit and wait by the phone or your inbox, however. Instead, you can politely and professionally follow up until you get a firm answer.

Ask at the Interview

At the end of your meeting with a prospective employer, inquire about the interviewing and hiring process. Ask when the interviewer expects to make a decision and if he’ll choose someone after this round or ask for additional meetings. His response may let you know your chances. If he says he plans to decide by Monday and confirms your contact information, that’s a good indicator he’s seriously considering you. If he’s vague or says “I have several people to meet with,” your chances probably aren’t good. You can also ask where you stand compared to other candidates and if the interviewer sees anything that would prevent you from getting the job.

Send a Follow-Up Note

A brief follow-up letter allows you to discreetly nudge the employer for a decision. Send a thank-you letter immediately following the interview, reminding the employer of your interest and note how your qualifications make you a good fit. If he gave you a timeline, mention that you look forward to hearing from him then. You can continue to touch base if you haven’t heard anything in a week or more. Keep the message upbeat and express again how enthusiastic you are about the position. Offer to provide any additional information he needs to help him make a decision. Don’t ask about the job unless you must know right then. Chances are the employer will respond if he has any news regarding the decision.

Close the Deal

If you want to take a bold stance, write the employer a letter outlining why you’re the right person for the job. This strategy works especially well if you’ve completed several rounds of interviews. In this case you’re likely a strong candidate and the employer will respond well if you state your case. Reference your conversation with the interviewer, including what he said about what he’s looking for in a candidate. Offer examples that illustrate how you match his vision. Describe how your previous experience has prepared you to succeed in the role you’re applying for.

Mention Other Offers

If you’re considering offers from other companies, tell the employer this to encourage him to give you his decision. This isn’t rude or pushy. Instead, it’s bad etiquette to make other employers wait for your decision while you hold out for another job. Call or email the interviewer and reiterate how much you appreciate his time and his consideration of you as a candidate. If the job is your first choice, mention this but say you have another offer and if the employer can’t give you a decision now you’ll need to withdraw your application. If an employer is uncertain, this may give him the incentive he needs to make a choice.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

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