So you’ve filed a perfectly tailored resume and pitched a flawless interview in an effort to land that dream job, but now you’re waiting by the phone hoping the next call will tell you you’re hired.

Should you call them? How long should you wait? If you do call, what should you say?

There is etiquette to following up a job interview and sticking to that etiquette can maximize your chances of finding out what you want to know without seeming over eager or outright blowing the opportunity.

Set it up during the interview

If the interviewer doesn’t do it for you, be sure to ask about the next steps in the hiring process, including when you might find out if you have the job or not. The interviewer should at least be able to provide a rough timeframe. You can then ask if it’s appropriate to inquire about the status position and whom to contact – preferably over email. If possible, avoid walking out of the interview with an open-ended time frame and no contact information.

How to follow up

After the timeline has run its course, wait a couple days and then fire off an inquiring email. Using email allows the person to respond as time allows and avoids making them feel uncomfortable by putting them on the spot over the phone.

In the correspondence, thank the hiring manager for their time and give him or her something of value to supplement your conversation. For example, if you talked about a project you worked on – pass along a link that relates to it.

If you follow the given timeline and offer some added value, you’ll likely be seen as professional, conscientious and passionate about the position. Contact too early and you may be seen as over eager. Too late and you could come across as uninterested.

Avoid being a nuisance or appearing desperate

Once you’ve sent out that follow-up email or phone call, you have to wait for a response and resist the temptation to make subsequent emails or calls. If the company’s response outlines and extended timeline – follow it. If the company doesn’t respond after a week or so – make another attempt to contact the hiring manager or a contact in human resources.

A good way to avoid making call after call is to forge ahead with your job search. If you aren’t focused on a single opportunity, you’ll be less likely to sit by the phone with bated breath.

Embrace the possibility of not getting a response

Companies should make notification emails to all job candidates, whether or not they got the job, part of their standard operating procedure, but unfortunately many do not. It’s possible the company decided to do away with the position because of budget cutbacks or staffing reasons. It’s also possible the job went to a person already within the company or someone with a strong inside connection. These things are outside your control.

Even if you don’t get the job, your interactions throughout the hiring process will tell you a lot about the company moving forward and inform any possible future dealings you might have with them.

At Cornerstone, our job candidates mean a lot to us and we always make sure they are kept in the loop throughout the hiring process with our client companies. If you’re looking for a hiring process defined by transparency – feel free to contact us.

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