The Post-Interview Follow Up: Timing and Other Rules of Thumb

post-interview followWhether you just had a phone conversation or an in-person meeting. So what should be your top priority now? The post-interview follow up.

That’s right: a letter to the interviewer(s) thanking them for their time. Also: reaffirming your interest in, and qualifications for, the role.

Often I get asked how soon is too soon for post-interview follow up. To help is explore the answer, let’s look at two possible scenarios:

  • Best case:  You complete the interview and the hiring manager gives you somewhat of a definitive timeline of when you can expect to hear from them. Typical responses include “by next Monday” or “we’ll be done interviewing by the 15th.” Whatever you hear, you’ll have a metric by which to gauge your follow up response.
  • Most cases: you’ll receive a more vague cliff-hanger of a response. Something along the lines of, “It was great meeting you – we’ll be in touch shortly,” or “I’ll circle back after I discuss your resume with the team” is common. This type of response doesn’t mean that you’re out of the running. It just means that you’ll have to work a little harder to gauge the timeline of the process.

Here are some general rules of thumb in regards to following up after the interview:

Respect the Timeline

If a timeline is given, be sure to respect that timeline.  If the timeline approaches and you still haven’t heard back, give them a 1-2 day buffer.  Plenty of hurdles come up, including administrative hold ups, or unexpected absences.

Wait a Week

If no timeline or sense of next steps is given upon exiting the interview? Allow at least 4-5 business days (a week) before following up. Why? Because it’s likely that they are interviewing additional candidates and haven’t yet made a decision. Over-eagerness bordering on impatience will not do anything positive for your chances.

When You Think You Did Well

Normally, if a candidate is being strongly considered, it’s likely the hiring manager will talk about next steps. Specifically, they might mention when you can expect to hear from them.  However, it doesn’t always work that way. If no timeline is given, but you feel they want to move forward, or extend an offer? Again, allow roughly 4-5 business days before following up.

HR Doesn’t Always Have the Answer

Remember that HR manager and recruiters don’t always have answers, as they’re subject to the approval of upper level decision-makers. Are you aggressively approaching your job search, or actively interviewing? Then give yourself a timeline of when you will pull the figurative cord on the opportunity. After all, you don’t want to miss out on other potential interviews or offers.

An Example

In each case, the point of a post-interview follow up is twofold. It’s an opportunity for you to reaffirm your interest in the role and why you feel you’re a strong fit. It’s also to maintain presence on their radar as they’re moving through the hiring process.  Try this:

Hi Dana –

Thank you again for your time on Tuesday.  I want to reaffirm my enthusiasm in being considered for the role. Just as important, I want to express confidence in my ability to bring significant value to the team. 

Is there any additional information I can provide on my end to help move the process forward?

I look forward to discussing next steps.

Thank You,

Matt Smith

Ending the outreach on a question gives them an extra push to respond to you.

The Key

The key to post-interview follow up? Be slightly aggressive, but in a tactful way that respects the hiring manager’s process and timelines. No matter how swiftly a response was promised, that person is likely handling multiple job openings. In addition, they deal with many factors outside of their control that can inadvertently slow down the process.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio.




DanaAbout the Author: Dana Leavy-Detrick founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses. She also offers career transition coaching and business consulting.

Dana has helped hundreds of professionals execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has also presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities. Her advice is featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay,, GlassDoor and Follow Dana on Twitter!



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