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Proper Etiquette to Use for Follow-Up After an Interview

by Neil Kokemuller

Many job seekers focus on what to do before and during an interview, often neglecting appropriate steps to take after the interview. While proper post-interview etiquette might not land you a job, doing the wrong thing might take you out of the running.

Send a Thank You Note

A commonly overlooked aspect of post-interview etiquette is a thank you note. You should take the time to send a simple thank you note to each person involved in the interview. First, recognizing and showing appreciation for the company's time is the right thing to do. Also, some hiring managers may use something as simple as a thank you note to break the tie between candidates that are otherwise on equal ground. If you have good handwriting, you could write a brief message in a card thanking the interviewer for his time and noting something you enjoyed about the interview. Otherwise, type and print out a note covering the same ground.

Show Patience

A hiring manager typically explains the timeline of a hiring decision either before or after the interview. In some situations, you might get an immediate answer or know within a few days whether you get the job. Other times, it can take two to three weeks or longer to find out. Pay close attention to the communication at the interview to avoid coming across as too eager and pushy in your follow-up. For example, if the interviewer says she will contact you within the week, don't call her before the week is up because she will either think you weren't paying attention or don't respect the timeline she gave you.

The Phone Call

It is perfectly acceptable to make a follow-up call to the hiring manager if you follow some basic rules. Again, don't make any phone calls until the timeline you have been given has already passed. Also, you need to say the right things when you do call -- and avoid saying the wrong things. Definitely don't say anything too pushy like, "I really need to know your decision quickly." Many applicants simply ask "Have you made a hiring decision?" You might also share some follow-up details about a topic discussed during your interview as a segue to inquiring about the hiring status.

Take the Next Steps

In some cases, the hiring manager asks you to do a few things after the interview to complete your part of the process. Common examples include taking a drug test, filling out paperwork and submitting a list of references. Make sure you complete these tasks quickly to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and your respect for the hiring manager's time. Additionally, it is good form to alert your references, if you haven't already, that they might soon get a call from the company.

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