How Much Follow Up is Too Much? How To Touch Base Without Being a Pest

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Job interviews can feel a lot like playing a hand of poker. You have to try to get a feel for the interviewer to determine how much you should reveal. When you are looking for a job, you may not want to put all your cards on the table, but you can take some hints from the interviewer to figure out how much follow up is too much.
A very formal interview with a hiring manager who reveals nothing and who doesn't seem very excited about the idea of you becoming their new employee can be really hard to read. But, there are other interviewers who have a more casual, open and conversational tone. With these sorts of hiring managers, it can be helpful to ask them for feedback before you leave the interview. If you feel comfortable, it may be appropriate to tell them that you are excited about the position and that it seem like it would be a great fit for you. Then, ask them if they have any initial concerns about your suitability for the job or if they can tell you were you stand in the hiring process. You may also want to ask them what their timeframe is for choosing their candidate. Many times I have interviewed for a position and, by asking that question, found out that they were planning to make a decision several months in the future.
Once you get an idea of where you stand and how long they plan to search, you can better determine how much follow up you should do. Here are some tips:
  • Thank you” emails or notes – These should be sent out directly after your interview. Every time, no matter what. Even if you think your chances are nil and you feel like you totally blew the interview, always thank the interviewer for their time. There is no excuse for bad manners. Your thank you note can be a self promotion tool, but remember to keep it brief. State your qualifications and your enthusiasm for the position. Make sure you thank them for their time and say something positive about the future. This simple follow up will make you look more professional and leave the interviewer with a good thought about you.


  • Informational emails – This sort of follow up works well with interviewers for which you have developed some rapport. You don't want to call or email them too often, but sending a quick note can be a good way to touch base. If you run across an article about something that relates to the industry, the company, send them an email saying “I ran across this article and thought you might be interested in reading it as well.” Include the link and don't mention anything about the job. Although, you may want to make sure that your email signature is professional and includes information about your job search or your professional contact information. This sort of follow up will keep your name in their minds and let them know that you are supportive of their job and that you keep up to date with your industry. Of course, you should do this at the most, once a week.


  • Don't try to be too creative – Keep your follow ups professional. This isn't the time to experiment with different font colors, smiley faces or cute puppy pictures. Some people think that they have to go overboard and send something unusual to the interviewer. Most of these attempts to be clever will backfire and leave the interviewer with a negative impression of you.


  • Don't harass the interviewer – Calling or emailing everyday or even multiple times a day makes you appear desperate and only serves to bug and irritate the hiring manager.


  • Don't oversell yourself – Your follow ups should be brief. Don't be tempted to send long sales pitches. You had plenty of time to make your pitch at the interview, so now is the time to sit back and see what happens. If you oversell after the fact, it just raises questions about your confidence and your degree of professionalism.
Following up after an interview is important. But, it can be hard to know how to keep yourself in their minds without being a nuisance. With each follow up attempt, try to gauge how you are being received. If a hiring manager asks you not to call or email them, of course, you should stop. Each hiring manager has a different level of how much communication is too much.
These low risk follow up tips can help you test the waters and master the follow up game.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for SalesHeadsBlog, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

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