How Often Should I Follow Up After The Interview? | JobSearchTV.com


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Someone asked me a great question to address.

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In the course of working with someone, they asked me the question, "How many times should you follow up with a the HR person before "leaving them alone?" Seems I may get the initial response emailed, then I hear nothing for a week, I hit all the check marks on qualifications, I send the request for an update, nothing. I do it again a week later, nothing, maybe even a third week. And then I get a rejection letter.
Or "I have that initial interview and immediately send a thank you note. I didn't follow up a week later, then maybe two more weeks then I wait another week. As soon as I send the email, I get the rejection notice that I pester them should I have simply sat silently? How often is too much?"
Let me start off with the premise of you may think words are the way a corporation communicates. I view it as behavior is how a company communicates. Their behavior of not communicating, is telling you we're not prepared to indicate our decision about next steps, whether the scheduling for an interview, whether to bring you back for a second interview. That's what their behavior is saying.
That you were calling multiple times doesn't make them move any faster. I'm telling you, it doesn't make a difference, that sometimes they forget, they become distracted. So, we have to work with that as a possibility.
So, what I encourage people to do is, you've sent out a thank you letter. Maybe you've gotten the timeline as to when they are going to communicate about next steps during your interview. But let's assume not.
If you've gotten that indicator, you follow up a day or two later and say, "Hey, you mentioned when I interviewed with you, you' d have a decision by such and such date. It is a couple of days later, I haven't heard anything and just was curious about next steps in the process."
Or, in this case, you know, he's done an interview or emailed a resume and no response. You know, he sends an email-- radio silence. Oooh. The submarine has gone underwater; they are radio silent. What are they saying? Like I said, they're not prepared to communicate a decision.
Now, I will also tell you that if they were really excited about you, they would be jumping for joy, contacting you quickly and working to schedule the next step. So don't look at the words. Look at the behavior. The behavior is telling you that they're not prepared to indicate decision. You call them once, and then the following week, twice, and after that, give it up.
All you're doing is frustrating yourself. You're getting distracted. It's keeping you from doing more self-promotion and marketing, which is really what you should be doing until the time you get the job offer and you complete the negotiation.
I want to be clearer. You know, it's you get the offer, and you complete the negotiation. If the role, if the offer is low, and the negotiation is completed, and you haven't gotten the right money, you don't want to be betting the farm on that one deal, right.
So, I'll just simply say, two times, max. That's all you do. I did it with corporate clients when I was still doing recruiting. Two times was it. I understood that their behavior was designed to tell me they're too busy, they don't have word back. After all, this is HR, waiting for someone else to communicate with them. They are interviewing other people. When they have a decision. They would like me to

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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4 Responses
  1. Maurice Levie

    I used to say up to three times, but these days I’d say never. If they want you, they will move mountains. Once you leave their offices, forget they exist and move to the next potential employer

    1. Jeff Altman

      Maurice! It has been so long! They engage in a process. Job hunters engage in the process for as long as they are willing to engage in it. In response to the question, I thought two touches. The first one is normal. You make the second one in case the message was lost or they got distracted. After that, there is a message in the behavior.

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