To follow up or not to follow up?
July 21, 2008 1:39 PM   Subscribe

To follow up or not to follow up after an interview?

I finished up 2 rounds of interviewing for an entry level position a little more than a week ago. Thank you notes have been sent. References given heads up.

Now its the waiting game, and no word yet. HR told me a decision would be made by mid last week. VP told me they want to fill position within 2 weeks of my last interview.

Should I place a follow up call or send a follow up e-mail (in addition to thank you notes having already been sent)? I do not want to come off as insecure or desperate. I also do not want them to think that I don't want the job.

What to do?
posted by shotgunbooty to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just email them - the worst they can do is say they picked someone else or they haven't made a decision yet. If HR said they'd get back to you by mid-last week, then there's nothing wrong with following up on it.
posted by universal_qlc at 1:51 PM on July 21, 2008

Definitely follow up.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:01 PM on July 21, 2008

Email them, don't phone. It's less obtrusive.
posted by Miko at 2:46 PM on July 21, 2008

posted by thinkingwoman at 3:13 PM on July 21, 2008

As someone who does a fair amount of hiring, I say do not follow up. The best follow up is a nice thank you card, anything other than that is unneccesary and obtrusive. They have your information and will contact you if they want you. They know you want the job, you went to two interviews. There is no telling what is holding things up, HR can be an incomprehensible nightmare to people in the company, don't remind them of how slow this beast can be.

If you ABSOLUTELY are going to freak out if you don't contact them, frame it as something else. Like if you heard a problem that needed a solution in your interview, and you have a creative solution write them with that! If you have a question about the company, throw that in. Then wrap up your email with a "the possibility of working with your company is very exciting and I hope to hear from you soon!" or something to that effect.

Writing just to see how the process is going would be seen as pushy and irritating, at least to me.
posted by stormygrey at 3:21 PM on July 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

Follow-up with a card, postal letter or email - do NOT call.

However - I only follow-up if I really want the position - then, I make a point of actually following-up on some discussion point or another from the interview. Actually, on several occasions when I was unable to answer something in an interview - I mentioned that I would follow-up. I did (via email) - and in every instance was offered the job.
posted by jkaczor at 3:28 PM on July 21, 2008

Managers who are recruiting are really, really busy. If you phone them, you're showing them that you don't understand. So don't phone. Send an e-mail if you have to. But the best thing really is just to wait.
posted by storybored at 5:12 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

As someone who does a fair amount of hiring - follow up with an email if it goes a week past the day you expected an answer. It's unobtrusive and as the hiring manager, I owe you an answer. Whether I select the person or not, it's a professional and courteous to give a candidate an response.

Generally, I take an email like yours and send it to my HR person. Some HR people are complete jerks about getting back to candidates. (Not all of them, but some.)

Be prepared to hear that they don't know yet. That may mean that their first choice person is in background check. We generally don't tell our second choice no until our first choice has accepted the offer and cleared background.
posted by 26.2 at 5:32 PM on July 21, 2008

Call HR. They're not the ones making the decision so you won't lose points by chasing it up. If they've said they'll make a decision by a certain date, you can use that to contact them.
It may well be that a decision hasn't been made yet, but HR will be able to tell you that, and tell you when you can expect a decision. Saying something along the lines of "I've been offered another post, but your position is the one that really interests me" may help to speed up the process. No company is ever going to think "well, candidate X has another offer so we'll give it to candidtate Y" and dismiss you from the selection process.

If you haven't been offered the position, do ask for feedback. It's really useful to find out why you weren't selected - helps you improve your CV and interview technique, and sometimes it makes you reassess whether you're applying for the right jobs. We always offer feedback for unsuccessful candidates, and the (few) people that take us up on the offer seem to appreciate it.

Good luck!
posted by finding.perdita at 6:49 PM on July 21, 2008

As someone who works in HR, do NOT call HR.

I work for a 1,000 employee company. While I'm aware of every job opening we have, I'm not aware of where each hiring manager is in the process. Calling HR means HR has to call the hiring leader, which is what you want to avoid in the first place. I can't tell you how many "Hi, this is Joe. I had an interview last week and wanted to know if I got the job" calls I have had to redirect. Hiring managers make the decision on who to hire, when they'll start, how much they'll pay, etc.

Best bet is to be patient - the hiring process is often long and can change based on business need. If you haven't heard anything within the timeframe they identified, follow up with an email to the hiring leader.

Good luck.
posted by Twicketface at 9:52 AM on July 22, 2008

Just some additional thoughts on this:

I also do not want them to think that I don't want the job
The best time to convince the hiring manager that you want the job is during the interview.

An idea of the numbers involved from the manager's perspective: When we were recruiting for three intermediate software designer positions, we looked through ~200 resumes. These were culled by HR from an avalanche of at least four or five times that. E-mail and internet submission of resumes has made HR's job a nightmare.

From the 200 resumes, we selected perhaps 10-15 to interview.

So if all of those we interviewed sent thank-you notes and made phone calls, we would have had to field 15 phone calls and read 15 polite thank you e-mails. But there wouldn't be anything to say to any of them because the decision wouldn't have been made yet.

I'd even say that unless you have something meaningful or important to say, that you forego sending the polite thank you e-mail.

HR is in an even worse situation because they get phone calls from people who haven't been asked for an interview.

Bottom line: I've never known any manager to forget about the person they've decided to hire. Sit tight and if you're the one, you'll know it soon enough.
posted by storybored at 5:21 PM on July 26, 2008

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