Careers advice

Should I follow up after a job interview?

Worried about sending a follow up after a job interview? You shouldn’t be, here’s why.

You nailed the interview, so now it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game until you hear back. Or is it?

A strong body of evidence suggests that job seekers who get back in touch after a face to face meeting are putting themselves in a better position than those who don’t. But many of us won’t do this because we’re scared of coming across pushy or desperate.

To help you get this part of your job search right, let’s take a look at how soon to follow up after an interview, and what you should say.

Waiting is part of the job hunting journey, but don't be afraid to contact the organisation about your application.

Follow up emails after job interviews: best practices and templates

There are four common types of job interview follow ups:

1. Thanking the interviewer for their time

We highly recommend dropping the interviewer a quick note to thank them for meeting with you, and re-emphasising your interest in the position. Do this within 24 hours of your interview, and keep it brief, polite and energetic. For example:

Dear NAME,

Thank you very much for your time yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to you and learning more about the clinical administration role.

I’m very excited about the opportunity to join your team, and in particular helping you overhaul your patient tracking and management system. This sounds like a challenging and rewarding project, and one that will greatly benefit your operation for years to come.

I’m confident that my background in IT, combined with my professional experience working in care homes, will enable me to be a valuable and proactive member of your department. Please feel free to contact me if there’s any more information you require regarding my past experiences or competencies. I look forward to hearing from you.

2. When you want an update

Hopefully, you asked the interviewer about time frames for their hiring process, and when you should expect to hear, at the end of your meeting. If the date they named has come and gone, and you haven’t heard back about your application, it’s understandable that you want an update. However, a few words of warning:

  • If they didn’t give a time frame: wait at least a week before getting in touch. Enthusiasm is great, over-eagerness is not.
  • Really do wait until they’re late: we understand you're eager to hear a result, but wait until they’re definitely outside the window they promised before asking for news.
  • Be polite: be careful with your wording, and don’t appear upset that they haven’t gotten back to you. Be professional, always.

A good example of an update request looks like:

Dear NAME,

I hope you had a great weekend. I interviewed for the clinical administrator position on [DATE], and you mentioned you would be making a decision about next steps this week. Would you be able to provide me with an update, please? If you need any additional information from me, please let me know!

Kind regards,

Most hiring managers will be happy to field questions about your application.

3. When you have to follow up again

From your last email, you’ll have either received:

  • The information you needed.
  • A response telling you they haven’t decided yet.
  • No reply (grrr!).

If it’s option two, we recommend replying with:

“Thanks so much for the update. Do you have a rough idea of when a decision will be finalised, or when you’d like me to check back in? Please let me know if there’s anything you need from me to help with your decision”.

If it’s option three, before you go all Incredible Hulk and start smashing things, try a second round follow up:

“Dear {NAME],

I hope you’re well. I’m just getting in touch to follow up on my previous email (below). Do you have any updates on the decision making process for the clinical administration role? Please let me know whenever you have time whether I’m still in the running for this position.”

Even if you feel like this on the inside, make sure your emails are always polite and professional.

4. When you didn’t get the job

While it’s gutting you didn’t land the role, you can still gain something from the process by adding the hiring manager to your personal network. This also means you'll be front of mind when they have job openings in the future.

The best way to do this is to send an email after your rejection, again thanking them for their time and consideration, and saying you hope to stay in touch. You can then nurture this relationship with occasional emails, for example congratulating them on an accomplishment, or sharing some interesting industry news.