5 Rules for Effectively Following Up After a Job Interview

The stressful part is over. You’ve had your interview and impressed them as much as you could with your knowledge and charisma.

You think it went well, but you aren’t sure how they felt after you left.

Depending on what you do next, you may be spending the time until you hear back from them playing out different scenarios in your head. Instead of driving yourself crazy wondering what they thought about you, go ahead and follow up with them and ask!

There are some guidelines of etiquette that should be followed if you want to be considered professional. Use these five rules to see where you stand after your job interview.

1. Send a Thank-You

Ahhh, good old-fashioned manners. Have you ever wondered where they’ve gone? Chances are, so have the hiring managers you interviewed under.

The littlest things have a major impact when it comes to displaying your character. Following up with a “thank you” email, phone call, or handwritten card tells the recipient that you are thoughtful and professional.

The message should be short and succinct. Whether you email it, text it, or drop it off yourself, it can say the same thing. This article gives you various examples of what to include in your thank-you note.

As a pro tip, don’t handwrite a message until you’ve drafted it and had it checked for spelling and grammatical errors. Run it through Grammarly or a similar program, then write and/or send it.

2. Wait Before Following Up

Some companies are in dire need of someone to fill their opening. They’ll call you and ask you to start right away.

Others have a process that has to be followed. It can take weeks before they’ll know if you’re hired or not. The manager may be desperate for staff, but the corporate office takes its own time to fill the role.

If you try to follow up too soon, you’ll be wasting your time and theirs. A general rule of thumb is to wait until one week after the interview, as long as you’ve followed rule #1 and sent a thank-you note.

Only send one follow-up message to start. In another week, you can send a second. If they don’t respond, close that door and look elsewhere.

Don’t look at it as a loss, either. It’s a red flag for a business to not be professional enough to respond to your messages or say, “Sorry, we went with someone else.”

3. Do Your Homework While You Wait

Before you leave the interview, it’s common practice to ask the interviewer what the next step should be. They may tell you that you’ll need a background check or fingerprints taken, for example.

They’ll let you know before they run either of these. In the meantime, you can check out your own background report and see what it says. If there’s something you disagree with, it can take a long time to file a dispute and have it removed.

Employment agreements are another typical part of the job process. Many places stipulate that you must sign a contract prior to starting employment with a company. To save time, ask the manager if there’s a default template they use that you can take home and review.

Before you sign anything, check with a contract lawyer to ensure you’re not getting stuck with something you don’t want. These legal professionals may be able to help you negotiate better terms when you get the call to come in for the next step in the job process.

4. Stay Neutral in Your Communications

Some people want to make sure the interviewer knows they’re very interested in the job. Others keep their poker face on, regardless of what happens.

There’s a fine line between staying neutral and seeming disinterested. You can be friendly and let them know you’re interested in the job in your communications. However, be careful not to come across as overly excited because they may lower their starting offer if they think they have you in the bag.

You should also try not to sound impatient, either. Yes, it’s been weeks since the interview, and they keep saying they’re interested. The person you’re communicating with probably doesn’t have the final say. Even if they do, they could still be interviewing others.

They can dangle the carrot in front of you. It’s up to you whether you keep following it or look elsewhere while the carrot stays in your sight. There’s no need to be impatient or rude and ruin your chances of it altogether.

5. Talk to the Person in Charge

During your follow-up communications, make sure you’re talking to the right person. When you call the business, you may end up with someone who works there, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right hiring manager.

Best case scenario, you’ve wasted your time dealing with someone who has no say over your employment.

Worst case, though, you could inadvertently destroy your shot at the job by getting comfortable with the wrong person. The employee you’re talking to could try to push the manager to hire you, which may set off a domino effect of power struggles you had no idea existed.

Avoid giving details to anyone in the company that isn’t directly sent your way by the interviewer. If you get hired, you’ll be able to make acquaintances later.


Following up after your interview is a normal part of the process. However, it’s important to follow professional guidelines as you do this.

These five rules will get you through the waiting period. You’ll know quickly if your interview was a success or if it’s time to keep on searching.

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