Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

How to Follow Up After an Interview, Without Annoying the Recruiter

By James Ball | Jun 6, 2017 | Candidate Tips

So, you’ve done the hard bit (the job interview), now what?

Do you…

  • Carry on with everyday life… (what will be will be)?
  • Sit around refreshing your email and wait for the interviewer to get in touch?
  • Call and email your interviewer until they give you the answer you’re looking for?

Hopefully not!

Don’t want to sound harsh, but there is a very fine line between coming across really interested in a position – and just looking really desperate and annoying a recruiter (in house or consultant).

The following steps will help you get it right:

1. Ask this question during the interview.

Just in case you haven’t had chance to read our eBook – 35 Questions You Should Ask Your Interviewer – yet, there is one question you should always ask at the end of an interview.

And that question is:

So what happens next?

Firstly, this makes you seem genuinely interested in the role (you’re seriously considering taking it).

But more importantly, it will give you some kind of expectation about how the process will pan out over the coming weeks (or even months).

This information will help to systemise your follow up.

So for example, you don’t want to be hounding the recruiter after a week, if you’ve already been told that a decision won’t be made for the next two weeks.

However, if you’re expecting a call after two days and it’s been four, you’re well within your rights to pick up the phone and ask for an update.

If you have no idea about any of this, you’re probably going to feel on edge waiting around.

2. Send a thank you email.

I always advise my candidates to drop their interviewer(s) a quick email to say thanks for seeing them.

It’s not only polite, but makes you seem more friendly and approachable (and committed)!

And the thing is, there’s really nothing to lose – you’re not going to offend anyone – if anything it will just add to their glowing opinion of you.

To really step up your game, you could also sneak in some memorable good points about yourself; just to remind them how perfect you would be for their job.

If you bonded over something, then certainly mention it:

“It was great to catch up and so funny that we were both at Liverpool University at the same time.”

“I’m glad I’ve met someone who’s as barmy about cats as I am.”

“Maybe we’ll bump into each other at the next caravan convention.”

And you can also remind them about some of the skills and experience you have that make you perfect for the role!

“I really think my experience at [company name] will give me a great edge at your company.”

“I’ve been training to be a [Job Title] since I was little. It’s my dream job.”

“I would really love the opportunity to put my [skills] to good use.”

Just be careful not to go on too much; they heard everything in the interview.

Here’s a template for you:

Hi [First Name],

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

It was great to find out more about [Company Name], especially [Fact About Company] and because of [Relevant Skill or Experience] I think I’d be a great fit for the team.

Either way, it was great to meet someone who [Personal Fact About Interviewer].

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help move the process forward.

Look forward to hearing from you.

[First Name]

And here’s an example:

Hi Jane,

Thank you for taking the time to chat to me today.

It was great to find out more about Nuts etc. and as a former nutritionist, it was particularly exciting to hear about the new healthy range you’re going to launch. As a huge foodie, I’m sure I’d fit in well with the team!

(It was also great to meet someone who loves Bikram Yoga as much as I do!)

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to ease the process in the future.

Look forward to hearing from you.

James

Quick tip: if you didn’t manage to ask your interviewer about the process, during the interview (“what happens now? When can I expect to hear from you?”) then now is the time to do so!

3. Connect via LinkedIn.

During the interview, you and your interviewer will (hopefully) have bonded on a professional level, so it’s perfectly acceptable (and even advisable) to connect with them via LinkedIn.

In most cases they will naturally accept you (unless they don’t use LinkedIn often, so don’t panic if they don’t) and it will give them an opportunity to check out your amazing professional profile – and to remember you in the future.*

It’ll also give you the opportunity to keep up to date with the business in the future, should things not work out. You never know when you might be able to use that contact.

*Of course, this all requires you to have an amazing LinkedIn profile in the first place…

4. Chase them.

If you don’t hear from anyone within the time frame they set out for you, then you should chase.

But, as I mentioned earlier, there is a fine line between looking interested and coming across desperate, so don’t go overboard.

Calling over and over again will not go down well.

At this point, I’d keep things short and sweet (and polite).

You can call them up or email them (it’s up to you), but the message is essentially the same.

Here’s an example for you:

Hi Jane,

I hope you are well.

It’s been a few days since I interviewed for the Marketing Executive role at Nuts etc. so I just wanted to check whether a decision had been made at all (I remember you mentioning that Wednesday was the deadline).

Kind regards,

James

There are a variety of acceptable reasons why a recruitment process may get held up, so don’t get angry and frustrated.

Keep your cool and see what they have to say.

5. Chase again.

In the unlikely event that you don’t get any kind of reply within two weeks (unless it was stated that this would be the case) then you shouldn’t just give up.

At this point, I highly recommend giving the company a call.

And if you can’t get through to the right person, ask whoever you do get through to if the role has been filled (they’ll probably know if it has)!

If you don’t feel comfortable calling, then send a final, polite email.

Here’s an example for you:

Hi Jane,

It’s been a couple of weeks since I interviewed with you for the Marketing Executive role and I’m just following up to check whether a decision has been made.

If there is anything I can do or send across to move things along then please do let me know.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

James

Again, make sure you keep your cool!

You don’t want to burn any bridges and there could be a number of perfectly acceptable reasons why they’re not getting back to you.

Unfortunately, not all recruiters will get back to their job candidates. It’s not fair but it happens.

If this is the case, then move on, pick yourself up and think to yourself: would you really want to work for a company like that anyway?

If they do get back you then it’s important that you respond (whether good or bad news).

6. Always respond to good or bad news.

99.9% of the time, employers (or recruiters) will ring you to make a job offer, so we don’t need to go into your response to that in depth, but do remember the following:

  • Don’t accept the offer without fully considering it first (see our eBook 10 Important Things to Consider When You Receive a Job Offer).
  • Don’t get overexcited (it might make you look desperate and won’t put you in a good negotiating position).
  • Don’t act too “cool” (if you don’t even come across happy, they might have second thoughts).

Of course, the recruiter may also ring you to reject you.

The best advice I can give you at this point is to:

  • Remain calm. Don’t say anything that you’ll later regret.
  • Admit that you are disappointed (the successful candidate might drop out).
  • Ask for feedback.

If they email you, it should give you some more time to collect your thoughts and send a good response…

Responding to Rejection.

As I mentioned above, it’s always important to remain calm when you get rejected.

You don’t know what the circumstances are and you don’t want to burn bridges.

If nothing else, think; the successful applicant could drop out and you could be second in line.

Here are two example emails you could send (one if you did receive feedback and if you didn’t).

These will keep things friendly between both of you and make it clear that you would still be interested in working for that company in the future.

How to request feedback:

Hi Jane,

Thank you for your email.

I am, of course, disappointed that I didn’t make the cut this time as you’re a fantastic company and it was a great role, but I am grateful to have had the opportunity to interview in the first place.

I was just wondering if I could get a little bit of feedback as to why I was not successful.

I would really appreciate the opportunity to improve my interview performance in the future.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

James

At this point, it’s in the recruiter’s hands and there’s not much you can do I’m afraid; some companies actively encourage interview feedback, others refuse to give any at all.

It often depends on the number of people who have been interviewed but you will have to accept their decision.

How to respond to negative feedback.

Hi Jane,

Thank you for your email.

I really appreciate your feedback and the opportunity to improve upon my interview skills. It’s a shame I couldn’t [whatever the negative feedback was].

I would still love the opportunity to work for a company like yours in the future and I appreciate you giving me the time to interview in the first place.

Best of luck in the future.

Kind regards,

James

Leaving things on a good note will really help you to maintain that relationship in the future.

And who knows when a new position will come up?

Summary.

Interview follow up is pretty important.

You don’t want to come across needy and/or aggressive, but you also don’t want to come across dispassionate.

Stick to these rules and you should be fine:

  • Do follow up. Don’t be shy. Recruiters expect you to follow up.
  • Don’t follow up too often. Hounding a recruiter won’t get you anywhere.
  • Be polite. Always maintain that great relationship.

If in doubt, put yourself into the recruiter’s shoes.

  • How often would you want to be contacted?
  • What would annoy you?
  • How would you expect to be treated?

They are only human, after all!

If you’d like to read more articles like this one, click here to subscribe to our Job-seekers Blog.

- James Ball

James Ball

James is the founder and owner of Coburg Banks and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes.

> More blog posts by James Ball

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