How to express interest in a job after the first interview?
July 23, 2013 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Last week I interviewed for a job that, after the interview, I decided I really want. The interview went well in that I got out everything I wanted to get out. The moment I got home I wrote thank you emails. They said they'd be in touch in 7 to 10 days. This is day 7. Would it be appropriate to write again to express my interest in the position or, as I suspect, am I just being impatient, if not needy? I've read in these posts and elsewhere that a huge mistake job seekers make is not outright asking for the job. In my thank you emails, I wrote that I thought my skills were a perfect match for the position, that I could easily fit into the culture, and that I was very interested in the position. So, write again, or would that just be gilding the lily? Thanks.
posted by holdenjordahl to Work & Money (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is hard, but leave it alone. At this point they've already decided and it's just a matter of letting the wheels turn.

No one was ever NOT given a job because they didn't express to the interviewer how much they wanted it.

If they want you, an offer will be forthcoming.

Also, I know how much it SUX to be in this position.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:44 AM on July 23, 2013 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Email Monday afternoon, something to the effect of "Has there been any progress on filling this position?" That's 10 days plus the weekend. And then never again.
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 AM on July 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Like Ruthless Bunny has said, the following conversation has never happened among hiring managers:

"Well, I'm not sure whether we want candidate 1 or candidate 2, they both seem pretty qualified. Let's wait around a few days and see who contacts us about the job first and give it to that person."
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 12:08 PM on July 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: good point, Ruthless Bunny, and good seconding of good point, tylerkaraszewski.
posted by holdenjordahl at 12:09 PM on July 23, 2013

Best answer: I disagree that "No one was ever NOT given a job because they didn't express to the interviewer how much they wanted it." I've certainly heard managers dismiss people because they didn't seem enthusiastic in the interview.

But I agree you've had your chance to demonstrate interest. Especially if you did it before day 10 you could come across as badgering. And even if it's day 12, you don't want to implicitly criticize them for being late: You're an applicant, not their manager.

The only reason I could see for contacting them now is to provide some other piece of information that has come up in the last week, such as a work product that was just released.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:12 PM on July 23, 2013

Best answer: As a job seeker, hiring timelines NEVER happen as fast as you'd like them to.

Let it be. They interviewed you, you sent a thank you email which, whether explicitly stated or not, is telling them you are still interested. Let the process take its course.

My pearl of wisdom from being on both sides of this is that while you are anxiously waiting for an answer on this, there is no cause for anxiety on their side. They are already at work, dealing with all the day-to-day crap that most jobs provide, including putting out fires, etc. They will get to the hiring decision when they get to the hiring decision. The only situation where I've been able to light a fire under an employer was when I had a competing offer. That sped things up very quickly, but don't dare bluff that one.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:23 PM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I agree with Etrigan. If they said they would be in touch in seven to 10 days, there's no reason not to ask for an update on day 11 (or the next business day). But not before then.
posted by grouse at 12:32 PM on July 23, 2013

Best answer: I am the kind of hiring manager that does not want to hear from you. Your enthusiasm for this job should have been apparent in the interview. If it wasn't, your phone call or email claiming enthusiasm aren't going to convince me. You're wasting my time.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:36 PM on July 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: "7 - 10 days" == "a few weeks". I would contact them again, briefly, after no less than two weeks.
posted by katrielalex at 1:32 PM on July 23, 2013

They said 7 to 10 days. Wait until day 11, then send an email asking if they've reached a decision yet?

That is, if you just can't hold it in.

What I would do is wait until day 11 and on the 11th day accept that you haven't got it.

I keep hearing that it's normal to wait 87 years for a decision, but good gravy. If they haven't got back to you by day 11 to say "hi, we haven't made a decision yet because we're waiting on some stuff" then it's highly unlikely that they ever will.

Failing that, companies that take 87 years to make a decision don't get me, because there are other companies that can and do make a decision in 10 days and just because they are sitting around filing the nails on their three toes, doesn't mean anyone else is. I don't wait around, and neither should you.
posted by tel3path at 4:55 PM on July 23, 2013

I work for a large organization (125,000+ employees) whose bureaucratic wheels grind exceedingly slow at times (*cough* usually *cough*). If I were one of the people with decision-making influence on a hiring choice and you, the candidate, followed up on day 11 I would think "Huh, despite how promising they sounded in the interview, this person apparently really doesn't get how things happen here at EmployerName. That doesn't bode well for them being able to adjust to the organizational culture."
posted by Lexica at 7:45 PM on July 23, 2013

I'm going to disagree with everyone so far and say: It Depends. When I worked for a startup (I was #7 and we grew to 80 or so over four years), the GM expected followups like this and saw these communications as evidence of the applicants' enthusiasm for the job and a good fit for the culture (which was this hyper-responsive, hyper-communicative, borderline cult fanaticism). If you recognize the position to have a similar feel to that, and you want a position in that sort of team (looking back, maybe that wasn't the best environment for me, oh man), then, yes, by all means contact the person/people with whom you felt a connection. Not HR. This would be the manager or someone within the team. If you don't have that contact information and didn't bother getting their card, don't bother contacting them.

If you choose to do this, your message would be:

1. You've been thinking about the conversations/interviews and briefly mention some germane intel/knowledge/insight that you stumbled on (make it juicy)
2. You're happy to chat more (with contact info), and
3. You still feel you'd be a good fit for the organization.

Keep the entire message to 175 words or less.

Part 1 is the most important. This is ostensibly the purpose of your message -- to share insight or information that will help your contact, regardless of whether she hires you. As an externality, this shows that your gears are still turning, that it's a role you can sink your teeth into and Add Value, and that you're focused and won't let a ball drop. But it has to be sincere, and it has to be valuable information. Otherwise, you'll look like a kissup.

Again, if this is some huge anonymous multicorp job or you only have an HR contact, this probably isn't the way to go. But if it's a smaller organization and you really feel you made a personal connection that could lead to something, it's worth a shot.
posted by mochapickle at 7:44 AM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks, folks, i sat on my hands and DIDN'T write...
posted by holdenjordahl at 4:24 PM on July 24, 2013

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