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Calling after an Interview: Desperate or Diligent?

This situation is probably familiar to you. You land an interview with a company you really respect, you show up to the interview, you nail it, you go home, you wait for the company to call, and the call never comes. A week might go by, followed by another week. All the while, you’ll stay at home watching your phone lay silent and consoling yourself with a pint of Haagen-Dazs. At some point, you’ll wonder if you should take the initiative and give the company a call. After all, you’ll think to yourself, maybe they are busy with other projects and were unable to get back to you as soon as they had promised; or perhaps they forgot how spectacularly you performed in your job interview and are in need of a simple reminder.

You can take solace in the fact that this situation is not uncommon. We meet many candidates who are curious as to whether or not a post-interview call is a necessity, a worthwhile optional decision, or something that should be avoided entirely. As is often the case, we can’t provide a one-size-fits all policy to this question. Every job is different and accordingly every interview process has its own idiosyncrasies that are difficult to provide advice on from a general perspective. However, we have posted this blog post in an attempt to provide some tips and tricks to help you decide whether or not it is in your best interest to call a potential employer to follow-up on a past interview.

Thinking of Calling: How Much Time has Passed?

If six months have gone by, it’s a pretty sure bet that you didn’t land the job. Although it’s not necessarily harmful to call for feedback regarding your interview after several months have passed, it’s difficult to see how it could be helpful. If you don’t call the interviewer back within – at most – two weeks of your interview, they will almost certainly have forgotten who you are. Their ability to provide you with constructive feedback will be non-existent.

In contrast, it’s also not a good idea to call your potential employer up the very next day and definitely not on the same day that the interview took place. This kind of diligence at best will be read as a manifestation of an unappealing obsessive compulsive tendency and at worst will be read as an indication that you are creepily dedicated to getting the job. Generally speaking, you should call the employer to ask for feedback on your interview or for information regarding the position the week after your interview took place. If you interview on Friday, then calling sometime midweek is probably better than first thing Monday morning. Note that it’s unlikely that the position has been filled by this point, however, the company may be able to tell you whether or not you’re still in the running, might be impressed by your obvious interest in the position, or thankful that you were courteous enough to call and let them know that you are still interested in the job.

What is the Purpose of the Call?

Are you interested in calling merely to thank the company for giving you the opportunity to interview? If so, it makes a lot more sense to accomplish this goal through a tastefully written e-mail. Although you might feel your interviewer would be overjoyed to hear a “thank you” in you particular tone and cadence, an e-mail is a far more effective way to convey this sentiment and won’t distract your interviewer from another – likely far more important – call. If your are getting antsy and a week or two has gone by with no word from the employer and you merely want to know if the position has been filled, then it’s perfectly reasonable to give the employer a call and inquirer as politely as possible as to whether or not you’re still in the running. A reasonable employer should not be offended by this type of call. They should realize that you have probably applied for a several other jobs and may have been offered a less attractive positon by another company following your interview and are attempting to weigh your options. If you are interested in calling up to let the employee know that they missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime by not calling you back and hiring you on the spot, it’s probably a good idea to skip the call and move on with your life.

Is Calling Back a Known Formality within your Field?

There are some professions where it is considered proper etiquette for an interviewee to phone their interviewer following an in-person meeting to thank them for the opportunity. For instance, some old school legal and accounting employers might expect a call-back and be offended when it doesn’t come. It’s important to ask your colleagues within your industry to provide you with their opinion on whether or not it is in your best interest to call-back the company that interviewed you. They will know better than anyone else what is considered reasonable within your field.

We hope that this blog post helps you out the next time you are navigating the world of job interviews. For more tips and tricks, continue reading our blog.

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