Stop Nagging! How to Follow Up Without Being a Pest

Posted in Career Best Practices


"Hey – when are you going to get back to me?"

 

"So, did I get the job or what?"

 

"Why don't you just HIRE ME already?!?"

 

While you're waiting to hear back from a prospective employer, it's normal for that pesky little voice to creep in your head raising doubts and fears about your interview performance and suitability for the position. But, while you may have nagging thoughts during the days and weeks that follow a promising job interview, it goes without saying that you should never express them to an interviewer.

 

How can you keep that voice from driving you nuts – without turning into a nag? Be smart, be proactive, and follow up without being a pest:

 

Get your ducks in a row. Before you leave the interview, gently probe to find out:

  • The hiring timetable (if the employer has one established).
  • The interviewer's preferred method of communication.
  • The interviewer's contact information (e.g., email/phone/mailing address, spelling of name, job title).
  • Next steps in the interview process.

Asking for these details in a professional manner doesn't make you a nag, it simply shows that you're proactive and passionate about the opportunity.

 

Master the "thank you" letter. Send a well-timed "thank you" letter to stand out from the crowd and keep the dialog going with your interviewer:

  • Customize your message. Instead of sending a generic-sounding note, step into the interviewer's shoes and address the points which seemed most important to him.
  • Keep your note short and sweet. The general rule of thumb is to limit your letter to three paragraphs, each comprised of three sentences or less:
    • Thank the interviewer for his time. Reiterate your interest in the position.
    • Briefly review your qualifications and point out relevant accomplishments or experiences that you failed to mention in the interview (bullet points may work well for this paragraph).
    • Close by mentioning your next point of contact. For example, you may write something along the lines of "I look forward to hearing from you within the next three weeks."
  • Avoid common mistakes. Once you've drafted your note, ask a trusted friend or family member to scrutinize it, looking for:
    • Repetitive phrasing
    • Negative or self-deprecating statements
    • Informal language
    • Grammar and/or spelling errors
  • Don't wait for any grass to grow. Send your message within 24 hours after the interview.

 

Break the silence. If the interviewer doesn't contact you within the time period he specified, you may send a single, polite inquiry – but keep it brief, stay positive, and don't point out the fact that the interviewer failed to follow up.

 

Don't be a nag. Every interview situation is unique. As a job seeker, it's your responsibility to make good judgment calls about the frequency, method and timing of follow up. Use the employer's hiring timetable and preferred communication channel to be persistent – without becoming a pain in the neck.

 

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