Mary Lorenz, CareerBuilder writer
“Don’t call us. We’ll call you.” This used to be the standard send-off to job candidates as they left the interview. In today’s competitive landscape, however, waiting around to hear from the employer might mean losing out on a job interview. Now is it not only perfectly acceptable for job candidates to follow up with an employer after a job interview, it can even be advantageous.
When up against other, equally qualified candidates, taking the time and initiative to follow up and reiterate your enthusiasm for the role can set you apart in the eyes of the hiring manager. There is a fine line, however, between being persistent and being pesky. How do you find a balance? Hear from the job search experts about what to do – and what not to do – when following up with hiring managers.
Do send a thank you note. Sending a thank you note after the interview isn’t just good manners — it’s good personal branding. “The thank you note provides another opportunity to explain why you are a strong candidate, reiterates your interest in the role and helps you stay top of mind,” says Julia Bonem, a senior career consultant at Resume Strategists, Inc.
Don’t be generic. Send an individual thank you note to everyone who interviewed you, and customize each one. “Each email should say something different in case staff compare thank you notes,” Bonem advises.
Don’t delay. The sooner you send a follow-up note, the better. “Failing to be prompt with your appreciation can potentially take you out of the running for a job, especially if a hiring manager is making a quick decision,” Bonem says. While some experts say a personally written note makes the biggest impact, others say an email is perfectly okay. If you have a contact at the company, he or she may be able to advise you as to which tactic is best.
Do ask for guidance. Even if you send a follow up note, you may not hear back right away. Reach out again too soon, however, and your persistence may be perceived as peskiness. “If a place has not made a decision yet, or they are waiting for final approval on something, again, ask when you should follow up to check on a final outcome,” advises Nikki Martinez, a licensed clinical professional counselor. Not only will you get a straight answer, your thoughtfulness will not go unnoticed.
Don’t resort to gimmicks. Some follow-up tactics can make you stand out – in a bad way. “Never show up at the company uninvited for any reason or send clever care packages, birthday presents or gimmicky items in an attempt to stay ‘on the radar,’” says Bonem. Such gestures can come off as unprofessional or desperate, and may take you out of the running for consideration.
Do keep your options open. Even if you feel you have the job in the bag, opportunities sometimes fall through. Perhaps the hiring manager decides to “go another way” or maybe budgetary restrictions force a candidate search to go on hold. Whatever the reason, keep your options open by continuing to network and apply for other jobs.
Don’t burn bridges. If you don’t get the job, don’t write the company off just yet. “If you are turned [down] but like the company and they seem positive about you, it’s absolutely appropriate to ask them to consider you for other positions, now or in the future,” says Mikaela Kiner, founder of uniquelyHR. Check in with the recruiter or hiring manager every so often to stay top of mind. Should another opportunity with the company arise, you will be glad you didn’t burn that bridge.