Effective follow up serves many purposes:

  • It acknowledges the other person's time and consideration
  • It provides you with the opportunity to reiterate information or include new details
  • It keeps your name in front of the recruiter
  • Above all, it is expected professional etiquette

To follow up effectively, you'll need to know:

  • names, titles and addresses of all contacts to receive thank you letters
  • preferred method of contact for the interviewer
  • interview scope and timeline
  • potential outcomes and how you might respond

Be professional and positive.  Even if the interview for the current position is not successful, you want leave a positive impression for future opportunities.

Thank You Letter

Send a Thank You Letter


Mail your thank you letter within twenty-four hours of the interview.

Specifically note the type of interaction you had with the letter recipient: interview, luncheon, networking event, or other type of meeting.

Note the date of the interview.

Mention one or two positive, job-related, memorable details of the interaction.

Close by indicating you look forward to hearing from them.

Sample Thank You Letter (PDF)

Job Search Timeline

Know and Follow the Job Search Timeline

In the interview, you inquired about the interview timeline:

  • how many candidates are being interviewed
  • when the first round of interviews will be completed
  • when the interviewer will be contacting candidates with the results of the initial interview process (think of this as the contact date)
  • whether a second round of interviews is anticipated
  • when a final hiring decision is expected
  • when the successful candidate is expected to start

The interview timeline guides the timing of your follow-up contacts.

You will have sent a thank you letter within twenty-four hours after the interview, which serves as one follow-up contact.

No interviewer wants to be bombarded by repeat phone calls or email after the interview. You do not want to be perceived as desperate, demanding, or pushy. If, however, the contact date passes and you do not hear from the interviewer, it is appropriate to contact the interviewer and politely inquire about revised dates for the interview timeline, or to determine if a hiring decision has been made and you were not informed.

Respond Appropriately

During your job search, you may encounter one of many outcomes to the interview process. The possibilities include:

  • You may be offered a job you want
  • You may be offered a job you do not want
  • You may be rejected for a job
  • You may find that the hiring party fails to bring the process to a conclusion
  • You may not be contacted at all if you are not hired

In all cases, it is critical to your ongoing success to respond professionally. Your reputation is at stake. No matter the immediate outcome, your response to it affects your future. And not only with that one company or organization.

Employment circles are small. Word about an indignant or angry candidate can and does travel.

Also, you owe it to yourself to adopt a positive attitude. Your attitude is one of your most important assets in your job search.

Always approach the interviewer and every company representative in a professional and respectful manner.

If you are offered a job

Be prepared to analyze the offer before you accept it. Negotiations may be in order.

Know in advance the appropriate salary range and benefits for the position, given the level of responsibility entailed by the job, and appropriate to your experience and skills.

Read in advance about compensation and negotiating techniques so that you are not caught off guard.

Don't let the excitement of a job offer lead to flippant decision making.

Review our negotiation tips ›

Be realistic about rejection

Rejection is an inescapable part of the job search. Helpful things to keep in mind:

  • Rejections are not based on personal vendettas
  • Rejections are not expressions of personal dislike by the interviewer
  • Rejections may not be an indication that you did something wrong. You may have done everything well, and still not be chosen for the job

Rejections simply indicate that another candidate was judged a more complete and appropriate match for the position in question.

If you conducted yourself professionally during the process, and if you respond professionally to the rejection, your name may turn up on the shortlist for a future position in the same company. The future position may represent an excellent, even better, fit than the first opportunity.

In the face of rejection, thank your interviewer for the opportunity and encourage them to keep you in mind for future positions.

If there is no end in sight

In rare cases, the hiring organization may fail to complete the process of selecting a candidate.

Some candidates become wrapped up in the idea that this job is the only job, and the endless delay leaves them demoralized.

Instead, reflect on how you have been saved from a potentially frustrating work experience by learning about organizational paralysis in advance of accepting a job.

Or, consider that something may have occurred inside the company that prevents them from moving forward.

You may choose to withdraw your name from consideration, or you may leave your name in the pool while you pursue the other opportunities.

If you take another job with a second company, inform the first company and formally withdraw your name from the candidate pool.

If you hear nothing

This situation is most frequently reported when candidates apply electronically for a job discovered on an internet job board or via an employer website. No personal contacts have been established and in the job posting no names are associated with the position.

If you apply for positions in this way, accept at the outset that a lack of response may be the outcome.

Electronic job boards allow large numbers of applicants to respond to a single job posting. Due to the volume of applications, the employer may deem individual responses to be not cost effective.

Employers may use electronic methods to sort out eligible from ineligible candidates, which means there is no human to contact at the early stages of the selection process.

Whatever the reason, some employers do not plan to respond to unsuccessful applicants.

Before applying to an electronic job posting, you might call the Human Resources office and ask about their sorting and selection methods, so that you are knowledgeable about their process. This may or may not be a successful approach, depending on company policies.