The fact about follow-ups is that it’s the least–deployed strategy, and the least talked about among career advisers.
Follow-up calls are rarely talked about today, as salary negotiation is talked about more (so it seems). I’ll take the shallow–water dive into the follow-up to discuss why it’s so critical. A good part of your job search must include follow-up in all areas:
- Follow up with the application you submitted online.
- You are reaching back out to a colleague with an important contact. There are several layers to contacting the right person, so it starts at the bottom of your weak ties.
- Have a conversation with someone to discuss how they got into their field. Afterward, thanking the person is appropriate, either an email, a phone call or a card.
- Contacting a former boss who you had a mutually admirable relationship. Former bosses come through at times, especially if they liked you. Even if they since changed industries, it’s a valuable relationship.
- Try to contact your boss‘ superiors, too, if they know you and you had good communication with them as well.
- Follow up with other professionals (your hairstylist, etc), who said they wanted to introduce you to someone who could be a reference or a lead.
- Call a relative who retired from one of your ideal companies to work. Maybe they didn’t work for your department, but they know someone who does; or, they can tell you about the company culture.
- While talking to a former coworker, you found out they’re moving on. Find out why (even if they wronged you once).
The one time that’s most essential for you to follow up is after a job interview — this means all the interviews, not just the final before making a decision. The goal isn’t just to see if you’re hired; it may be the relationship you’ll need to get hired elsewhere.
Why don’t most people follow up?
I used to think job candidates didn’t know it was OK to follow up after a job interview. After all, they need someone for the position. They should call, right? In my early years, employers called back when they said they would, or would let you know they were not interested in hiring you. I think there were times I just knew not to expect a call back, since the interview didn’t go well.
Many employers, if not most, expect you to follow up on an interview in some form. The interviewer or hiring manager gives you a timeline and encourages a follow-up call if they don’t get back to you by a specific date. Hopefully, you note contact names, phone numbers, and all info you need to follow up effectively.
How to follow up after a job interview.
I don’t think you can get job offers without following up these days without one or more of the following:
- Send a thank-you email to the interviewer for their time and insight into the position.
- Call to follow up or send a note when an employer says to follow up with them.
- Send a second follow-up note the next week for an update on the status of the position. Some people send an article to something related to an interview conversation. I suggest several ways to do this in this article.
You are more successful when you follow up.
Getting the job is more than just showing competence. One of the cornerstones of success is the ability to follow up with tact and respect, whether through phone calls or in writing. You might believe that follow-ups are an overly aggressive tactic. However, it might be the difference between resting peacefully at night knowing you were rejected, or never knowing that you were turned down because another candidate followed up after an interview.
Follow-up is to continue the conversation, not to talk about what happened.
If your only goal is to find out if you are hired, you are squandering an opportunity. A follow-up still packs a memorable punch in this virtual-hybrid workplace. I believe that following up has a long-tail benefit when there’s a conversation behind it, but if your interview was lousy, it may not help a lot.
I once had an interview I thought went well, but when I called to follow up, I was told by the interviewer they went with someone else. We talked for about 20 minutes longer, and before I knew it, she referred me to someone else hiring for a similar position. She even called the employer as a reference for me before I applied!
My follow-up advice is not only for the job interviews, but for life. It’s easy to be forgotten. People are busy, and while meeting many people, you may forget they have their own careers to look after. They are asking for help, helping others, and following up, just like you. Reminders need to be a constant fixture of your job searches.
It’s easy to be forgotten. I know it ain’t easy. You need to create a strategy around follow-ups.