To nudge or not to nudge: that is the question.

You’ve landed that much sought-after interview, and you think it went pretty well. Now, how do you follow up? How do you clinch the deal?

Certainly, you want to maximize your chances of being on the short list of candidates. But what kind of follow-up is appropriate and effective, and how do you avoid being viewed as a pest by the potential employer?

This is a sensitive time, and there are many factors at play. Here are some tips that can help.

At the interview:

  • Get the business card of each person who is interviewing you and be prepared to give your own card.
  • It is entirely appropriate to inquire when the employer expects to make a decision. Asking about a time frame for when you can call to follow up, and with whom, shows your interest and initiative.

After the interview:

  • Without question or hesitation, send a thank-you note promptly. This not just a professional courtesy; it is an opportunity to stand out from the other candidates who very likely did not write a thank you letter. In today’s fast-paced world where decisions may be made quickly, it is acceptable to send the thank-you via email to ensure it’s received before the interviewer(s) make their selection.
  • If for some reason you did not get a time frame or the interviewer could not give you one, then it is reasonable to call about a week after the interview. Keep in mind factors that may be affecting the efficiency of the hiring process, such as holidays or summer vacations. Perhaps it is a government agency, or it is the beginning or end of the fiscal year, and they are busy with budgets or audits.
  • When making a follow-up call or sending an inquiry letter, make sure to state the date of your interview, the title of the position, and who interviewed you.
  • If the time frame has passed, follow up with a call to ask for an update on the status of your application. Do not call more than once a week. Stagger the inquiries but remain persistent. You don’t want to drive the employer away and force a decision not in your favor.
  • Avoid letting your anxiety get the better of you. Be sensitive to the impression you are making. You want to remain an attractive and sought-after candidate in the employer’s eyes.

If you don’t get the job:

Unfortunately, sometimes a position you have interviewed for is cut from the budget, filled by an employee from within, or perhaps the employer felt that another candidate simply was a better match.  This is truly disappointing, but try to accept the decision graciously.

  • It is entirely appropriate to follow up with a letter to the supervisor or director expressing your interest in future opportunities with that company or organization.
  • Often, Human Resources can tell you why you were not hired.  Make use of information that identifies what skills or qualifications you may have been found to be lacking.  Upgrade your qualifications accordingly so that you have a better chance next time.

While rejection hurts, try not to get discouraged. If this is a place where you’d really like to work, keep abreast of developments within the company and try again. Circumstances change, and your persistence and interest may pay off with your next application.

Tova Jaffee is the DORS Team Leader for the JCS Career Center. (Handout photo)

Tova Jaffee is the DORS Team Leader for the JCS Career Center. (Handout photo)

Tova Jaffee is the DORS Team Leader for the JCS Career Center. JCS provides a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. We offer guidance and support when you are seeking solutions for emotional well-being, aging and caregiving, parenting, job seeking, employers and businesses, achieving financial stability, living with special needs, and preventing risky behaviors. To learn more, please visit our home page or call 410-466-9200.