What to Do After the Job Interview

By Paula Santonocito

woman on phoneQ. I interviewed for a great job, and every indication was that I got it. But it’s been three weeks and I haven’t heard anything. What should I do?

A. Congratulations on a successful interview. If you came away thinking you got the job, the interview obviously went well.

How did the interview end? Did you ask when you might expect to hear about the job? Did the interviewer give you some indication as to timeframe?

Three weeks can be a long time when you’re waiting for news about a job. In reality, however, human resource professionals and department managers are not as focused on getting back to you as you are in hearing from them…though arguably they should be.

When companies don’t get back to job candidates, they run the risk that great people, like you, will find alternative employment. Besides, it’s common courtesy to get back to people in a timely manner, especially when you’ve made a commitment to do so.

Regardless of whether you were told you’d be contacted by now, you can—and should—follow up.

The best way to do this is in writing. Send an email to the decision-maker, the person for whom you would be working.

Begin by saying it was a pleasure meeting her, and indicate the date you met. This will remind her that it has been three weeks.

Then reiterate your interest in the job, and the company.

Ask when she might be making a decision with regard to the position.

Be sure to thank her for her interest.

Don’t forget to include your contact information as part of your signature line; provide both your email address and your phone number. This makes it easy for her to get back to you.

Proofread your message carefully and hit send.

What if you don’t hear back?

After about a week, place a phone call. At this point, you’re following up on your follow-up email. “I sent an email as a follow-up to our interview and wanted to make sure you received it. I know emails sometimes go astray.”

Keep in mind there are any number of reasons you might not have heard back after a successful job interview. These include your worst fear, that someone else got the job.

But it could be that the decision-maker has been on vacation or traveling for business.

Or, the company may have a temporary hiring freeze in effect. And, in fact, this is happening more frequently in the current economy.

Regardless of the reason for the delay, you owe it to yourself to stop waiting and wondering.

If this employer intends to hire you, you can breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to your new job. If not, you’ll know you should aggressively pursue other opportunities.

Have a question? Email Paula here.

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