You’ve got your heart set on getting that job. You’ve had the interview and given it your best shot. But the interviewer was non-committal, told you they’d let you know in a few days.
But every day seems like an eternity. Surely they know by now? Maybe they lost your file? You want to phone them, just to put yourself out of your misery. But maybe they’ll get annoyed and you’ll lose any chance you had?
Here’s what to do.
Mark in your calendar to follow-up seven days after the interview if they haven’t got back to you by then. Not one day earlier and not one day later. If the day of the interview was the 6th, follow up on the 13th.
It takes time to consider whether someone is right for a job. Sometimes the interviewer has to convince someone else that you’re suitable. It might take a few more days for all the applicants to come in for their interviews. You need to give them time to make their decision. Seven days is enough time to give them a reasonable chance to get back to you. If you contact them earlier you will be a nuisance. If you wait longer it will be too late.
Don’t feel ashamed about following up and don’t apologize for doing so. It’s common courtesy for them to get back to you in a reasonable time, whether or not they’ve made a decision. One of their tests might be to only offer the job to you if you show the initiative to follow up.
Ask them if they’ve made a decision. For a small business it’s very important for them to make the right decision. It can be expensive for them if they pick the wrong person. So they might take longer than a week to decide on you. If it’s a big company, they will have layers of bureaucracy to negotiate and this takes time.
If they haven’t made a decision, the fact that you followed up brings you back into their field of attention. Hopefully, you made a good impression. But even if you thought you didn’t, you might have still been better than your competitors.
If they haven’t made a decision, ask them “when do you think you will know?” You ask them this because it is what they expect and want you to ask, it is the proper thing to ask. It doesn’t really matter what their answer is.
Their answer doesn’t matter because you will mark your diary to follow up again in another seven days.
If they haven’t decided by then, don’t follow up again. They either don’t want you or they are genuinely taking a long time to make a decision. Either way, if you keep contacting them they will find it annoying.
The longer it takes for them to get back to you, the less likely it is that you got the job. The best attitude is to assume you didn’t get it and look for other opportunities. Some employers will never get back to you and will never tell you that they filled the vacancy. There are better people to work for than them.