I talk about job search with groups regularly and almost always get questions on what to do after an interview. Why, when, how, how much…

Why?’ is easy.

When you write a thank-you note to interviewers, you have another chance to impress each interviewer you talked with.  These notes should go out by email within 24 hours and do tailor each one a bit to the individual – relate that to something you discussed or learned and how that can be related to add to their knowledge of you.

When you check in after their expected decision time frame, you remind them of your interest and, done right, your value.

What, you do not know when they expected to make a decision? Next time ASK!

‘When’ is also easy
Thank-you notes should be immediate – 24 hours or less. Follow-up calls and emails should be made several days or more after the date they said they expected to get back to you. So, if the expected date was in three weeks, you would try to re-connect in 24-25 days.

‘How’ is a little harder.

Thank you notes are now most commonly emailed, except in very traditional organizations. But you can also make a great impression on the hiring manager with a well-crafted note on a business note-card or other formal stationery. Thank you notes should be brief : 1-3 short paragraphs. They should include something you learned in your interviews and a skill or achievement relevant to the job which you did not already talk about. And there should be some variety among them when you have interviewed with several people for the job.

Follow-up contacts may be by phone or email. Use the method that works best for you. If you call, be prepared to leave a clear, concise and positive voice message. Or write a well-focused and brief email or text. Your goal is to remind them that you are interested in the position and organization, you offer them value, and to learn when you can expect to hear about the next step. Say that you are happy to provide any added information which they might want.  Do keep the message brief!

Never assume the worst, especially if you do not hear back quickly.  Stuff happens in offices, changes and delays may be out of the recruiter or hiring managers hands.   Positive persistence often pays as it demonstrates a trait many hiring managers seek.

A negative tone in your message does not improve your chances. And yet every recruiter and many hiring managers can tell you about the candidate who ranted and even cursed.  Great way to lose an opportunity!

Stay positive, focused, and interested.

“How much” is tough.

How much depends on what has already happened and your reading of the people you talked with. The most important people to follow-up with are the recruiter and the hiring manager. What do you know about each of them that might influence your follow-up process?

One phone interview might make for one thank-you email plus a follow-up call, text or email. An in-person interview could be the same or include two calls/texts or emails or both a call/text and a later email. If you interviewed with multiple people or came back for second or third interviews, you can add one -three additional call/emails.

This job may be really important to you, especially if you are not employed. But it may be one of many the recruiter or hiring manager are trying to fill. And there are many other demands on their time. So give it a week or 10 days before you make that second attempt to connect. And at least that much for a third effort.

Do not contact anyone every 2-3 days, you will look needy.  And don’t stalk them across multiple media, that gets weird and negative fast.

Unfortunately, many companies have become very lax about following up with candidates, even after extensive interviewing. Assessing whether they are responsive to your needs or not is a part of your decision process as well.

A well-crafted thank-you note followed, if necessary, by some positive efforts to connect shows that you are a persistent professional and can enhance your opportunities for the job.