Interview Follow-Up: Call Me… Maybe?

Have you ever been left on the hook, still waiting by the phone days after your interviewer said he’d get back to you? Every time your phone rings you get excited hoping it’s him, and then let down when it isn’t. It’s just like waiting for a boy you like to call you after you gave him your number. In these situations, it’s hard not to stress. You keep telling yourself they’ll call you… maybe. Don’t sit back and wait for that call like Carly Rae Jepsen (if you don’t catch the reference, she sings that super catchy song “Call Me Maybe”). Follow these tips about how to be proactive but not pushy when following up after an interview.

Do Wait More Than Two Business Days Before Panicking

Filling the open position is the most important thing on your interviewer’s mind, right? Wrong.

Most of the time, interviewers have plenty of duties and work to get done outside of filling the position you applied. If it’s the day you’re supposed to hear back, don’t panic if you don’t get a call. They didn’t forget about you; they were probably just too busy to get to you on their to-do list. If it’s been more than two business days, however, it is appropriate to contact them.

Email Instead of Calling

If it has been more than two business days from the expected day, and you haven’t heard back from your interviewer yet, send a proper email inquiring about the status of the position. Email is the best here because, if you call and they have already decided, but just hadn’t gotten back to you yet, it can be very painful and awkward to find out over the phone if you weren’t the candidate they selected.

Also, if they do have a huge to-do list and just haven’t gotten to you yet, an email is a lot less time consuming or persistent than a phone call. They can read it when they have the time.

Avoid Using Pressing Words

Be polite, and don’t sound anxious or desperate (even if you are). Avoid using pressing words/statements like “I’ve been waiting to hear back,” “you told me I should’ve known two days ago,” etc. Don’t accuse them of being late in getting back to you. This can make the interviewer feel cornered and uncomfortable.

If you can find a good way to word it, mention how you understand that they have a lot on their plate, but you would appreciate knowing where they were in the process. Be careful not to make it seem like you would rather pursue another opportunity. Saying “While I have other opportunities, ABC Company is still my top choice…” is an eloquent way of wording it if you do have other offers.

If you have emailed your interviewer and haven’t heard back within five business days, it’s probably best to move forward in your job search and not look back. Unfortunately, some businesses aren’t concerned with giving you closure, and will delete your number (resume) without a second thought. Job searching is a lot like dating, so don’t wait around singing “Call Me Maybe”. Contact them, but you need to move on if it doesn’t work out.

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3 responses to “Interview Follow-Up: Call Me… Maybe?

  1. Angela, you write about a very important component of the job search process – mentally preparing for the disappointments. Candidates will meet all sorts of companies, those that are polite and respond after an interview regardless of the outcome, and those that never bother to take the time. Your tips are very helpful! It is true that the best option is to not wait around but continue to work on the job search process. Building options is key. – Dr. Marla Gottschalk

    • Thank you for your comment and feedback! I find that, for myself, disappointment is the one of the scariest and hardest parts of job searching, but it’s something that everyone experiences. Sometimes we just need to suck it up and move on telling ourselves it was their loss!

  2. Pingback: Recover From Rejection: Mulan Style | Purdue CCO Blog·

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