One of the most common question that job seekers ask is "Why didn't they call me back after the interview?". Everyone has been there at one point or another and it has to be one of the more frustrating parts of looking for a job. Once the interview is over and the thank you note is sent, it becomes a waiting game. Just waiting for the phone to ring and compulsively checking your email can drive you crazy.
The way to combat this is by following up with a company after the interview. A follow up phone call is one of the most useful but under-used pieces of interview etiquette. When I think back to the times when I haven't made the phone call, the reason was that I was afraid to call, worried that I would be seen as pushy or overly eager. The problem with this type of thinking is that it won't help you get the job. Here's why:
You've already met a representative of the company and discussed how you could be an asset to their company. This means that you have a business relationship with that person. Calling them back isn't even close to being in the same category as cold calling someone. It's perfectly acceptable, and in fact, expected that you will give them a call to follow up. Here are a few tips to help you get through the call:
Think about why you're qualified for the job. If you are still feeling anxious about making the call, remind yourself of why you are a good fit for the job. Review the interview in your mind and think about all the things that went right. This should give you a needed confidence boost and make it less likely that the anxiety will bleed through in your voice.
Follow up at the appropriate time. At the end of the interview, it's important to ask what when the company is planning to make a hiring decision. If they say three days or a week or whatever, use that as a timeline for when you should call them. Don't call before the timeframe they gave is up. If they said that they will make a decision in three days, call on day four. If the employer wasn't able to give a specific time, then you should follow up in a week.
Don't call on Monday. Mondays are always the busiest days at most jobs, so don't call then. Even if they said they would make a decision on Friday, wait until Tuesday to follow up.
Be careful leaving messages. Before you call, it's a good idea to write out a brief script in case your call is forwarded to voice mail. This makes it less likely that you will leave out important information or ramble because of nerves. Also, if the message is being taken by an actual person, be careful about how much information you give. Simply give your name and number and say that you are following up on a meeting you had last week. Don't mention the details of the job because you can't know how much information the person has.
Don't burn bridges. You shouldn't attempt to leave more than two messages. If you don't get a call back, you can assume that you didn't get the job. Even if the employer never calls you back or if they tell you that they have decided to hire someone else, be as professional as possible. The worst thing you can do is to lose your cool and get mad. You never know when you might need them again, so don't burn those bridges.
Following up only takes a few minutes, but it can really make you stand out. So many people don't bother to call back. Those who do show that they are serious about the job.
Do you follow up after every interview? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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