Etiquette Tricks For AFTER The Job Interview

Published: Dec 05, 2013

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Etiquette Tricks For AFTER The Job Interview December 5, 2013

Job Interview Feedback - The Best Way To Prompt A Call Back

By Michael Petras for

What is taking the company so long to call me with feedback after my recent job interview? Should I call them, or just wait until someone calls me? If I call them, do I risk upsetting someone and closing the door on this opportunity? I really want this job!

The waiting game is the most frustrating part of the job interview process, especially if you are excited about the job.
Here is a sure-fire way to take back control and get the feedback you deserve...without shooting yourself in the foot.

What your first move should be

Your first move to prompt a call from the company is to always mail (don't email) a short thank you letter to everyone who interviewed you. Mail your letter either the day of your interview, or the day after if you traveled to your interview. Fewer than 10% of candidates do this. Simply put, it makes you stand out, and managers like receiving them.

Ten days after mailing your letter, if no one from the company has contacted you, pick up the phone and call (don't email) the hiring manager.

Try and picture what is going on at the other end of the process. It takes 3 days for your letter to arrive. It may sit in the manager's in-basket for a couple of days before actually being read. So, 5-6 days have passed since your interview.

This is perfect timing as your letter just reminded them it's time to do something. If you did well in your interview, they won't want to risk losing you. The manager will pick up the phone and instruct HR to invite you back, or maybe even start the offer process.

Some managers have good intentions, but put off taking action after reading your thank you letter. Your call is a welcome reminder and starts the ball rolling again. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and make the call!

FAQ 1: Should you leave a voice mail if the manager doesn't pick up?

Answer: Absolutely! Let technology work for you. Your mission is to either keep the hiring process moving, or close things off so you can get on with your life. A voice mail will accomplish this.

FAQ 2: If you interviewed with three or four people, who should you call?

Answer: If you were given specific instructions by someone, follow those instructions to the T. Sometimes the HR Manager will tell you to only work through the HR department. If you decide to go around them and speak directly with the hiring manager, it could upset some people.

Having said that, you are always better off dealing directly with the decision maker. Often times the hiring manager will give you their business card and say, "call me if you have any questions." This is perfect because the manager you will be reporting to usually has the final vote on who gets hired. Always call the hiring manager first unless directed otherwise.

FAQ 3: How many times should you follow up if no one is calling you back?

Answer: I have a "three strikes and you're out" rule.

You took the time to interview with them. You sent them a thank you letter. You deserve the courtesy of timely feedback. If you have to keep chasing them, then the answer is no. It's important to close things off in your mind and move on.

If you keep dwelling on it and mulling things over in your mind, you'll just get frustrated, irritated, and/or depressed. No sense in stewing over it any longer if the company is keeping you in the dark. Half the companies out there will give you timely feedback. The other half will either leave you hanging forever or eventually get back to you whenever they get around to it.

How rude and inconsiderate! If this is how they treat you on your first date, what will they be like when you are married?

Here is the best way to bring closure to this in a professional manner without risking your emotions spilling over:

1. Call the hiring manager 10 days after you mailed your interview thank you letter. It's ok to leave a voice mail.

2. If you don't get a call back in 48 hours—Strike One! Call them again. And yes, leave another voice mail.

3. Let another 48 hours go by. If no call—Strike Two! Either email them or leave them this one last message:

Hi Joe-

This is Suzzi Q calling again. Hope all is well with you.

I haven't received any feedback from my interview two weeks ago. I'm sensing at this point that you've probably hired someone else for the position.

No problem — I'm disappointed, but I understand.

If I don't hear back from you by the end of the day tomorrow, I'll just assume you've closed your position and I'll move on.

Thanks again for taking the time to interview me. It was a pleasure meeting you and I wish you all the best. Bye.


The beauty of this message is it allows you to take back control, close things off in a professional manner, but still leaves the door open for them to contact you if they want to move forward with you.

Whatever you do, don't keep calling and calling and calling the manager like a stalker candidate. Stick with the "three strikes and you're out" rule.

If you're working with an Executive Recruiter, don't call the company direct. Work through your recruiter. But, if your recruiter is giving you the silent treatment, do the the "three strikes and you're out" rule with them.

True Story: As an Executive Recruiter, I was working with an excellent candidate. I was very impressed with his interpersonal skills, and our conversations were always warm, professional, and friendly.

Shortly after we started working together, he wouldn't call me back or respond to my emails. Frankly, I not only found this out of character for this person, but I was getting upset about it.

I used my "three strikes and you're out" rule with this candidate. Nothing. So, I closed things off in my mind and moved on.

About 2 weeks later I received an email from his wife informing me that Jim had been involved in a serious motorcycle accident. They expected him to live, but he would be facing a very lengthy recovery. She thanked me for my email and follow up calls.

What if I had allowed my emotions to get the best of me and had left Jim an angry voice mail chastising him for not returning his calls?

Always give people the benefit of the doubt. You're not a mind reader. You never know what could be going on in someone's life at any given time.

Regardless of someone's circumstances, the "strike three" rule works. It is a professional, non-emotional way to take back control and bring you closure without burning any bridges.

About the Author

Mike Petras is an Author, Professional Career Advisor, and Executive Recruiter. His website, daily blog, and free monthly newsletter provides cutting edge career advice for job seekers. For more information go to:

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