After an Interview: Can Weekly Follow Up Calls and Emails Help Get You the Job?

Short answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

People wonder what to do after the job interview . I just read a recent comment from one of my readers who said “I still haven’t heard back from them after my job interview and they stopped answering my weekly follow up calls and emails so I just assume they don’t want me. I think that’s rude not to respond to me, but oh well. I will continue applying for more things!”

Of course my heart goes out to her, but I almost jumped out of my skin when I read how often she was following up with both phone calls AND emails after the job interview.  I get she was just eager to know “Did I get the job?”, but there’s good reason not to do what she was doing. What you do after an interview can count as much as before or during!

While I well understand the agony of waiting to hear back after the interview – and do love her positive attitude about moving on to look for the right job – I worry some of you, including this reader, may actually hurt yourself badly with an overly zealous approach. Bugging a potential employer week after week – no matter how wonderful a hire you might be – is not going to get you the job.  In fact, too many phone calls or e-mails can totally turn off the very people in the company you want to impress.

Avoid weekly follow-up calls and emails after an interview

Sending all those e-mails and making all those phone calls does not help your case with the company – and in fact only irritates HR folks and other hiring managers, many of whom have inboxes full of e-mails all demanding immediate attention. An occasional polite post-interview e-mail or phone call can be a good thing…but after that, believe me…if they are interested, they’ll remember you!

Unless you have something you absolutely need to tell them or maybe a new Pulitzer Prize you just won and want them to know about…less is more is a pretty good rule to follow when it comes to contact after the interview. And if they aren’t getting back to you – as annoying as that can be – just assume they have a good reason and do your best to focus on other things…like continuing to look for a great job!

(If you are waiting to hear back, you might find some helpful hints here: 12 Ways to Stay Sane After a Job Interview)

What about phone calls or email before an interview?

Speaking of following up…here’s a post from Kerry over at Clue Wagon that generated some great discussion. Basically, she tells us be wary of online experts who advise us to call or email after sending a resume (before any interview):

Calling to Follow Up? Hand Me a Fork.

(Kerry, a former HR person, is not one to mince words you’ll notice.)

Seriously…unless you have a contact there or a very good reason to call or are in an industry where this is ok  (as Kerry also advises in 3 (Possible) Exceptions to the Do-Not-Call Rule), you are probably not helping yourself one bit by calling before an interview to follow up on your resume. Employers sometimes get a hundred or more resumes for one job posting. Believe me…they do not want a hundred or more calls or e-mails for each job they post! (Hmmm…maybe we should call anyone who suggests you do that?)

Of course, for every rule there are exceptions. And I will admit I may have helped myself get to a couple of interviews by using the send-resume-then-make-polite-follow-up-call technique – but then again, it may have been my particular circumstance. And I also might have gotten there anyway based solely on my resume and strong cover letter. (That’s what a good cover letter is for.)   So please…if you do try this, just tread gently.

Nuff said.

So what’s your take on how often to follow up AFTER an interview? How have you handled your own post-interview follow-ups?

Waiting to hear back after a job interview?

How to Tell If a Job Interview Went Well

About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

Comments

  1. I was recently interviewed in person, after two telephone interviews, for a job I applied for last month. The interviewer seemed very interested in me and even came in to work on a Saturday (her idea) to speak to me. The interview went very well, she even introduced me to staff that I would potentially be working with and even showed me where my desk would be. After the interview she said it could take 2 weeks to hear back b/c they did have 2 other applicants that had scheduled interviews. At this time she handed me her cell phone number on a piece of paper and told me to call at the end of the following week to check in with her on the status or any time I had any further questions. I waited until Friday afternoon and called. She said that she was still waiting for an answer from the department head, but that she would get back to me by Monday afternoon at the latest. I didn’t hear back so I called and checked in with her on Tuesday. She was super nice on the phone and was overly appologetic for not gettting back to me. During our conversation she said that I was the best candidate for the position and had every quality they were looking for in an employee and that overall she generally like talking to me in the interview and thought I would be a great part of their team. She ended the call saying she would check in with the head of the dept and see where they were in the process and get back to me no later then Wednesday afternoon. After a full week I again didn’t hear back so I called to check in. There was quite a bit of noise and talking in the background and when I said who I was she was instantly appologetic again, and kept saying she was sorry she hadn’t got back to me and that things had been really crazy. She ended the call saying that she would call me back in 30 minutes when she was back in her office. I again have heard nothing and it has been 5 days. What steps should I take at this point, if any? I have not recieved anything by mail or email stating that I didn’t get the job either, which is usually common protocol especially with large companies like this one. I am confused on what to do b/c if I didn’t get the job, in any 3 phone calls, she could have told me that. Also, why say all the nice compliments, like I’m the best for the job, if you have no intentions of hiring me?

    • You have to ask yourself at some point, if you haven’t already… do I want to work for someone who can’t show the slightest bit of consideration by calling me back weeks after I take the time to interview? Don’t give me the they are waiting to hear back from HR excuse either. Either the job exists and is budgeted for or it doesn’t.

      Job seekers just want the truth. Either hire us or don’t and move on but be up front about it.

      This is coming from someone who has just had his third interview (fourth of you consider the introductory phone screen) for a job. I still don’t even know what the salary is. (I asked was told they are deliberatly keeping it hidden until an offer is extended.) I’m guessing it will be offered to me this week but I am not sure I’ll take it as the salary may be too low for me to leave my current job.

      • chandlee says:

        Bill,

        Thanks for providing your support to Heidi. Good luck with your own career and let us know how we can be helpful to you.

        All the Best,
        Chandlee

    • chandlee says:

      Heidi,

      I would advise you not to take this personally — hiring is often a decision among HR and at least one hiring manager and senior officer at a company. As such it takes time. Give them time and breathing room — and look for other opportunities as you wait to hear back. As a former recruiter, I can tell you with confidence that it’s quite likely that the person who talked to you does like you — people seldom say those things if they didn’t mean them. It’s just also quite likely they don’t have complete control, either.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  2. Katelynn says:

    I had an interview for a position Feb 16th, where they seemed interested in hiring me. They told me to definitely follow up giving me an email and phone number, and that they would contact me shortly. I sent a thank you note within 24 hours and a Follow Up email within 2 weeks. I have still heard no response and it’s almost another 2 weeks. Should I do a phone call this time?

    • chandlee says:

      Katelynn,

      I think you could certainly follow up again but I don’t know that it will speed up the hiring process or get you the job. Check the website to make sure the job is still posted, then either follow-up again – or wait to hear back but follow up for other positions, too. If you receive another offer, tell them that — very few things motivate another employer to act like another offer…

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

    • Madonna says:

      Bill, you should never bring up money first. But, you should be doing your homework about what a position like that should pay and go from there based on your experience. Say if its an Associate Director’s job–you should be researching what they are paid in that industry for your area. Once you bring up money you lose. If they bring it up–they lose. Because most HR folks know that you know what the job pays. If you ask, then you didn’t do your homework. My daughter had an interview coach and she is still waiting after an email two weeks ago saying they remain interested. They even called her reference only one that we know of so far. But, no movement since then, no email, no phone call. I think after interviews you have to forget them and keep it moving–keep applying for other jobs. I know you feel like you’re being bull-sh999ed. Guess how many resumes Golden Saks gets a year? They get 70,000 resumes a year.

  3. I had a total of 4 interviews at one company for a particular position, after each interview I sent a follow-up interview. Last Thursday, I did the behavioral assessment and sent them my references. I haven’t heard anything yet. Should I send a follow-up letter and if so, what do I say? Thanks!

    • Hi LJ,

      If you haven’t sent your thank you notes, I would do so immediately. Don’t try to contact the employer again for at least a week after your last contact with them (the behavioral assessment).

      Touch base with your references to see if they have been contacted – or to warn them they might be contacted if you haven’t already told them about this opportunity. If they haven’t been contacted, then that’s a sign that there are more steps in this process and more time will be needed (so be patient!). If they have been contacted, that’s a very good sign, but you still need to back off. Contacting them too soon is a very bad idea.

      You are probably not the only candidate to go through this process, unfortunately, and they won’t be making any decisions on the next step until they have interviewed everyone and given the assessment test to everyone necessary. So, chill for at least a week!

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  4. I have give 2 round of interviews, the recruiter was satisfied by my responses and for giving an offer they required my documentations and in the mean while they posted my status as pending. I have already provided all the documents and its been 10 days since. I have not received any more response from them. Should I call or send an email. what should I ask……Thanks!

  5. Hi, I had a telephonic interview on March 29, 2013. My interviewer was very impressed and told me that they would be interested in meeting in person for further interviews. He said HR will be contacting me soon but its almost been a month and nobody has contacted me till yet. I sent a follow up letter last week but no reply has come from them.

    Pls advise what i should do?

    Thanks,
    Sharon

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Sharon,

      I think it is appropriate for you to reach out again, this time via telephone. Politely tell them of the job you interviewed for (by job title plus any other identifier you have like requisition number), the person who you spoke with, and the date of the interview. Tell them you are still interested in the position, and then, ask for the status of the job, and the next step in their process.

      Meanwhile, be sure to keep looking for a job. Don’t wait for the resolution on this one because it could take a while, or they could hire someone else, and you don’t want to waste time.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  6. Sherwin says:

    Hi there,

    I had a phone interview on May 6th– everything went reasonably well and I was told their timeline for selecting candidates for the next interview round was “a few weeks.” Sent my thank-you notes within a day and decided to send an e-mail follow-up two weeks later (which was two days ago).

    I wasn’t sure who to send the follow-up to, so I sent it to the two people who interviewed me, and also cc’ed the recruiter and the person who scheduled my interview. So far (two days later), have not gotten a response from anyone replying to my follow-up.

    However, strangely enough, after I sent the follow-up, one of my interviewers did respond yesterday to my initial thank-you note, acknowledging my thanks, but made no mention of my follow-up or the status of the position. But it was weird that it was in response to the thank-you note that I had sent two weeks ago, but not to the follow-up email I sent two days ago.

    My questions:
    1) If I don’t hear back, is it okay to follow-up again? But with who? The interviewers, recruiter, or person who scheduled the interview?
    2) Because one of my interviewers has now responded to my thank-you note, would it be prudent to subtly ask him directly about the status of the position? Or is that considered being a pest and a big no-no?

    Thanks!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Sherwin,

      Sounds like you are making progress. A “few weeks” could translate into several months, or perhaps they are trying not to give themselves a deadline they know they won’t reach.

      Answers:

      1) I would follow-up again two weeks after your last follow-up, and I would follow-up the way that you did the last time, perhaps omitting the person who did the original scheduling.

      2) I would PERHAPS reach out to the interviewer who finally responded to your thank you if you don’t get a response to your next follow-up. That person could be an ally (possibly) or possibly just more polite than the others on the distribution list for your message.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

      • Sherwin says:

        Thanks for the reply, Susan!

        I did end up reaching out to the interviewer, who unfortunately had no knowledge of the hiring status. After that, I contacted the recruiter directly, who promptly responded and let me know that the hiring lead was in the midst of making an offer to an internal candidate. Bah, the perils of competing with internal candidates!

        It wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but this lets me move on. Thanks for the advice!

        • Susan P. Joyce says:

          You’re welcome, Sherman! Wish it had worked out better for you. It is very difficult to beat an internal candidate, unfortunately.

          Food for thought: IF you are still interested in working for them, Send an email to the recruiter thanking the recruiter for referring you to this opportunity, and reiterating your interest in working for this employer – or for other similar employers if the recruiter is external rather than internal.

          A thank-you-for-not-hiring-me note is unusual enough to stand out, and it could put you in the lead for “next time” or in the event this internal hire does not work out.

          Good luck with your job search!
          Susan

  7. HI,
    I know I am asking same thing which previously asked below. Nevertheless, If it is possible I would like to get some answer/tips specifically to my situation.

    I have been interviewed 3 times in one company and it seems everything went well, There hasn’t been opened any position. At the end recruiter told me that I am suitable for the company but first in order to hire me they need to find a task. I did sent them follow up email after 2 weeks and I got response saying there is no updates yet and they will let me know if there are any.
    Now, it’s been another 3 weeks I didn’t hear anything from them, So I wonder if should I send another follow up email.

    Thank you very much.

  8. I stumbled upon this site and I think it’s absolutely great that people share their stories and people are respondent and actually quite helpful. I feel like I should get in on this…

    I’ve had 7 interviews with a company. My last one was a phone interview with their HR dept. out of state. That was two weeks ago, and they told me that I would have a response by the following Friday. That date has passed and it is now Tuesday. I sent a follow up email yesterday and have yet to hear back. What would be appropriate next? I really want to call, but I don’t know how long i should wait. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi LC,

      So many things can mess up deadlines on the employer’s side of the process. I’d wait until next week – Tuesdays are usually better than Mondays – to reach out and see what is going on.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  9. Dear Susan

    Thank you for your web-site and the helpful information you provide. Over a month and 1/2 ago I had a powerful third interview and was sure I got the job. My references were contacted and a background screening was done. I was then told my next step was a health screen, which was done with good results. I was given a personality test which appeared to come out well. The process was moving forward as far as I could tell.

    I got a call with a statement from an assistant “we are offering you the job” a salary was mentioned.. I was told that my start date would be around the beginning of the next month. I was told to go ahead and give my two weeks notice. I did so and now have no funds coming in. Despite repeated calls to HR I’m not being given an official start date and time and the first of the month is now only next week.

    I’m in a position now of having no money coming in, I still have no clear work start date, the HR department doesn’t return my calls and I have nothing in writing. When I called last Friday to follow up on a start date, I was told by HR I will call you back in few minutes. It is now 3 days later and there is no return phone call. I’m starting to worry that the “job offer” I thought I got perhaps is not actually going to happen.

    The companies I previously worked in had a 24 hour return call policy. It alarms me that I might be going to work for an agency that has so far failed to remotely keep any of its promises “we will call you by such and such a time”. In fact every promised call has resulted in me waiting several days or weeks and calling myself to try to find out what is happening.

    If the company has a hang up with budgeting or personnel paperwork or something it seems it might be both professional and kind to share that information rather than keep someone on tender hooks day after day. In addition if a staff person states they are going to call you back in a few minutes and you still haven’t heard in days, I find it unprofessional. If I wasn’t so desperate for work right now I would call and tell them I was no longer interested in the job.

    I am disheartened about what sort of people I may have signed on to work for. Is this an over reaction?
    I do not want to bombard them with calls, and am trying to keep it to a minimum. I cannot quite celebrate getting a job because I’m confused about their inability to let me know if and when I’m supposed to show up to the office. I’m unsure if I should start putting out resumes again.

    Thanks

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Katie,

      I’m so sorry this happened to you! This is why you always need to get the job offer in writing before you turn in your notice, as I’m sure you know now.

      Do you have ANY thing in an email from them about the job offer, even an off-hand seeming reference (“When you start…”)? Save everything you have from them, and then print them out.

      These people owe you BIG TIME! But, that may be very hard to prove.

      Once you have all of your documentation ready, including (hopefully) the date, time, and name of the person who told you to quit your job, go to their offices and ask them when you start your new job. You quit your other job, as instructed, and you need to start the new job ASAP.

      If you get no where with them, I would contact your local state Attorney General or your local department of labor, assuming you are in the USA, to see what your options are and to see what help you can get from the government.

      If you can, you might want to see if you can get your old job back. Perhaps a slim possibility, but better than starting your job search from scratch.

      Good luck with this! I will keep my fingers crossed for you!

      Susan

  10. Hello Susan,

    I had an interview three weeks ago at a firm, in which I thought I had nailed it. The firm recently merged with another one across the country, which now handles the HR department. I was supposed to hear back the following Monday from them. I did not hear from them, so on Tuesday, I followed up with an email. I got a immediate response saying “that I am there top candidate and they’re working with HR to determine how the hiring process is now handled under the new firm.” It has been a week and two days. Should I follow up with a phone call or how long should I wait? I would greatly appreciate any advice that you could give me. Thank you!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi BC,

      I would give them a couple of weeks to get this cleared up. Handling cross-country communications shouldn’t be that hard these days, but with an organizational merger, lines of communication and responsibility can become confused.

      Give them a call next week to see how things are going. Ask about the process, the next step in the process, and the time frames for things happening. Undoubtedly, the time frames will be too optimistic, but it will give you an idea of what they think the timing will be.

      Then, keep looking for a job.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  11. Georgia O says:

    Excellent Q & A posts! I am a huge fan of LinkedIn, now this I will add to my “go to” sites!

    I am, too, awaiting a final decision after three interviews for a job within higher education (known for their hours of interview sessions by many!). It’s only been a little over a week, and a major university setting, so HR is likely inundated. While I wait, and I have about a month [more] to do so, as funds/apt. lease are issues, I do just as WCC suggests: Keep applying, network, submit resumes to recruitment firms, exercise (a lot), email chums just to say “Hi.”

    As I am single and no children, I can relocate for work, if need be…Regardless, we do best to keep busy and yes, allow the “blues” to happen, on occasion…I am not a fan of stuffing emotions way down, and see a pity party session as therapeutic, long as it’s on occasion, not daily!

    I think Susan noted this, and I thank her…”Do not take any of this personally,” may not be verbatim, yet if we allow ourselves to feel inferior, dumb, old, fat, ill skilled and so on, we are losing the battle! I started taking an online certification course in Wellness, as I am a running fanatic and nutrition devotee. I encourage those who may be reading this to look into low cost or free education and job skills training! WorkForce One is fantastic, mega seminars and a great networking tool!

    Thanks again, love this site!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Thank you for the kind words, and great point about the free online education resources available, Georgia!

      Even universities like MIT have been part of the free online learning world for many years. Wow! Learning is not something we finish when we graduate from high school or college. If we’re smart, we keep adding skills and learning more, particularly when we are unemployed.

      Hope these interviews result in a job offer for you, Georgia!

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  12. Hello Susan,

    I welcome your input on my current job search situation and the appropriate timing for follow up.

    I have had 3 interviews for a position with an organization that would be a perfect fit with my skills & background. My former employer was a firm that is a direct competitor with this prospective employer, so I bring knowledge of the business and existing client contacts to the table.

    To date, I have had one interview in person and another two interviews by phone with potential colleagues who are in other locations. The three interviews were scheduled quickly (within 3 week span) and it’s now been 3 weeks since having contact from HR. During the third interview, I was told by the contact he would like to schedule a meeting with me when he visited my location after returning from 2 weeks holiday. When I called him to follow up after his return, he didn’t seem to know where the hiring process was at and said he would have to circle back with HR and the local hiring manager to confirm. This was one week ago and I also sent a follow up email to HR that day to explain this person indicated he would like to meet when in town. HR has not replied to that email, but I was planning to reach out to this individual again to see if/when he would like to schedule a meeting when in town.

    It’s difficult to know who is driving the hiring decision, but I understand it’s a collaborative process. I guess I’m just wondering if no news could still be good news at this point and I should touch base again in a week or so to determine where they are at in the process.

    Thanks for your time.

    David

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