when to follow up after an interview

A reader writes:

I saw your blog and was wondering about something. I interviewed for a job Monday of last week. They said they wanted to hire someone as soon as possible but that they would let me know. I emailed thank you letters immediately the same day when I got home from the interview. I never know how long is too long or too short for following up again.

It’s been two weeks since your interview so it wouldn’t be at all inappropriate to call or email your contact at the company and reiterate your interest in the position and ask if they have a timeline in mind for making an offer.

As far as general guidelines for following up after an interview:

– Send a thank-you within a day or two after the interview.

– If the company didn’t give you a sense of the timeline in which they would be making a decision, follow up within a week or two to reinforce your interest and politely inquire as to what they expect their timeline for a decision to be.

– If the company gave you a sense of their timeline and you’re past the time when they indicated you would hear something, politely follow up, explain you’re very interested but understand that hiring can take time, and ask if they have an updated timeline.

Do keep in mind that no news doesn’t necessarily mean bad news. It’s not at all unusual for the hiring process to take longer than a candidate would like, for all sorts of reasons — decision-makers are out of town, scheduling conflicts are delaying a final interview, the company bureaucracy needed to finalize an offer takes weeks to work through (not necessarily a great sign about the work environment, but that’s a different topic), and so forth.

Good luck!

{ 5 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    Thank you! I emailed today and they got back to me. It is just taking awhile but they should know within the week what the decision is.

  2. Annie*

    Is it ever appropriate to follow up about their timeline BEFORE you have interviewed? I have fallen into the trap of calling/contacting too much in the past and definitely want to avoid it but I’ve currently applied for a position and they said they would be interviewing people this week and I haven’t heard back. Should I expect the worst or can I shoot them an email to say that I wanted to check back about their timeline and reiterate my interest in the position?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It sounds like you already contacted them once so you know that they do have your application? If so, don’t continue to follow up. They have it and know you’re interested and they’ll be in touch if they want to interview you.

  3. Al H*

    OK, I had a pretty good interview two plus weeks ago. They said initially that they would get back to me within a month, but then revised it to feedback within a week. At the two week mark I called (following the advice of this blog post) and unfortunately got an answering machine. I left a message and still nothing. I’m pretty close with all of my references and know they have yet to contact any. At what point do I follow up again, or should I try to wait it out?

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