Responding strategically to good and bad news after the interview.

Now that you’ve completed and sent your thank-you letters, it’s time to follow up on your interview. Following up with an employer demonstrates that you are interested in working for them and eager to get started. Not all employers contact you to let you know what decision they made, or where they are in the process, so it’s important that you be proactive in keeping in the communications loop.

There are standards to follow when following up after an interview:

  • Unless advised otherwise during the interview, it’s typical to wait three days after the end of interviews to contact the employer.
  • If you have been communicating mostly by e-mail, then it’s acceptable to follow up via e-mail—though typically businesses will share more detailed information over the phone.
  • At a larger organization, contact the personnel or human resources department.
  • At a smaller organization, you should reach out to the person who has been your main point of contact.
  • Be polite and gracious when speaking to anyone at the business
  • If they don’t have an answer for you when you call, but say that they will call you back, ask for a timeframe to expect a response. If you don’t hear from them within the timeframe, follow up again. It’s important to appear eager and enthusiastic but not overly aggressive or demanding.

If you did not get the job

  • Don’t cry or share your emotions when you get the decision. Thank them for giving you the opportunity to interview. Remember, not everyone gets the opportunity to interview for a position and this shows that they valued you as an applicant. You never know if they will have any future openings that would fit your qualifications, so you want to make sure to maintain a professional demeanor.
  • State your continued interest in the company.
  • It’s appropriate to ask if they keep applications and resumes on file for future openings.

If you get the job:

  • Try your best to be calm and reserved. Express your gratitude.
  • You can ask when they would like you to start. This can be negotiable in some cases. If you are presently employed, you can tell them that you would like to give your current employer the courtesy of two weeks (or whatever your company’s standard notice period is), if possible.
  • If the employer wants you to start sooner, then you may have to leave your current position earlier. Jobs can be hard to find and most employers will understand if you explain that you tried to get them more transition time.
  • You do not want to burn bridges if you are leaving another job. You never know if you will end up working with that employer again or interacting with them in your new position.
  • Leaving a job on good terms can provide a good reference in the future.
  • If you have prior commitments scheduled such as a vacation, this will be something you have to discuss. Some businesses will be okay with you taking that vacation, but many will not. Sometimes you will have choose your job over personal life.
  • Confirm your pay or wage (this is something you should have discussed during the interview as well).
  • How many hours does this business consider full time employment?
  • Will they be providing any type of benefits?
  • If you are receiving benefits, what kind of deduction from your pay will you have to contribute?

These are just few points to consider when calling to follow up with a business that you have interviewed with. It’s suggested that you practice what you will say and even make notes to make sure that you cover all bases.

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