The top 5 dos and don’ts of following up after a job interview

Waiting to hear from a prospective employer after a job interview can be agonising and you may feel the urge to hurry them along a little. Doing so can be disastrous if you say the wrong thing. Here’s how to make contact without wrecking your prospects

During this limbo period you often toy around with the question of whether or not you should follow up with them.

Career specialist Sara McCord says following up a few days after your interview is a step in the right direction, but only when done in the correct manner.

“ … as with everything else, you need to find a way to phrase what you’re really thinking (ie, “Hire me!”) in the best way possible,” she says.

The career guru shares five follow-up lines that will horrify hiring managers (and what to write instead):

1. “You said you’d get back to me on Monday, and it’s Tuesday now!”

Although following up a day after you were told you’d receive your response shows initiative, such a statement comes off as accusatory and may cause the hiring manager to become defensive – which isn’t the result you want to achieve.

Do: Let a few days lapse after the date that the person promised to contact you. Thereafter write an email that re-introduces yourself and says: “looking forward to learning about potential next steps following our interview/application submission”.

2. “Why haven’t you come back to me?

Even though you may be frustrated at the hiring manager for not honouring their response deadline, McCord says such a statement sounds threatening and won’t bring you closer to clinching that job. “Another variant on this line – “Where are you?”— can read as either angry or confused, but it’s still best avoided,” she adds.

Do: If you haven’t received any response in 10 days, you could try, “I’m very excited about the open position and I’d like to confirm receipt of my application materials. Please let me know if I may send anything else along.”

3. “I’d really appreciate any response whatsoever.”

This sounds desperate and pushy. “It sounds like you’re waiting by your phone and like you’ll jump off the treadmill or out the shower if it rings—and the hiring manager doesn’t need to know that!” cautions McCord.

Do: She says if you are eager to find out the progress of your application, rather send an email saying: “Would it be possible to get an update on the status of the hiring process?” McCord says this statement is short and concise and it won’t offend.

4. “I have another offer. Do you have a decision yet?”

“Sometimes you’re really excited about a certain company, but sadly the hiring process is dragging on so long that you’d have to (essentially) commit before you get an offer (very risky!) or bow out,” says McCord. But she warns that such an approach could come off as you trying to put your hiring manager in a corner – and no one likes being backed into a corner.

Do: Try this: “I’m really excited about this position, and it’s my first choice. So, I wanted to let you know that I have another offer that I have to respond to by Friday. Do you know when you’ll be making a decision?” McCord says if you don’t want to reveal that you have another offer on the table, rather say; “Could you share the projected timeline for the remainder of the hiring process?”

5. “I’m disappointed that you never got back to me.”

Just like statement number two, this seems desperate and pushy. Such an email may come off as aggressive and make you look like you’re someone who doesn’t understand how to communicate professionally. She suggests a less emotional approach.

Do: If you’re dying to write something, you can say you “enjoyed learning more about the company and would love to be kept in mind for any roles you might be a better fit for in the future” or that you “would like to stay in touch”.