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The job interviewing process isn't over after you walk out the door or switch off the webcam – there's still another essential step involved. Following up after a job interview is a must, but knowing how and when to follow up is just as important.
Start Before You Leave
Begin the follow-up process before the interview ends by asking about the hiring manager or recruiter's next steps in the hiring process. "As a recruiter, it stuns me that so few people end the conversation with this question," recruiter Jenny Foss writes for Forbes. Asking about the recruiter or hiring manager's next move clues you in on the best way to follow up, and what your timeline should be.
Beat the Clock
If a hiring manager tells you he or she will be making a decision within a week, then follow up quickly. When the timeline's short, you're working against the clock to follow up during a very busy time for the person making the decision. In this case, email is probably best. Keep it short and simple, and send an individual email to each person who interviewed you.
The Old-Fashioned Way
When the window of time is a little bigger, nothing beats an actual mailed thank-you card or letter after an interview. The traditional approach – sending a typewritten letter to each person who interviewed you – still has its advantages. While a decision-maker may be quick to delete an email, a letter is more likely to end up in your file, where it can be seen again. Use good, professional-looking stationery, make sure to sign your letter – a typewritten signature won't do – and get the letter out within a few days of your interview.
Call Them (Maybe)
If anything is going to go wrong in the interview follow-up period, then it will likely go wrong via telephone. Hiring managers and recruiters will sometimes drop a hint about a date by which a hiring decision will be made, and while it's tempting to call on that day, don't unless you're specifically invited to, or else you run the risk of being the pesky candidate. The exception to the rule is if you are applying for an aggressive profession like sales, where following up boldly is part of the job description.
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A writer and information professional, J.E. Cornett has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lincoln Memorial University and a Master of Science in library and information science from the University of Kentucky. A former newspaper reporter with two Kentucky Press Association awards to her credit, she has over 10 years experience writing professionally.