Follow up: your interview is over. What do you do next?

Reflecting after the interview

Directly after your interview, set aside time for thought and reflection.  Prepare yourself for future interviews and professional situations while the interview is still fresh in your mind.

Ask the following questions and write down the answers:
  • What questions or situations in the interview went well?
    — Why did they go well?
    — How did these parts of the interview exhibit potential strengths or skills?
  • What questions or situations went less well?
    — Why did they not go as well?
    — Did I need more preparation or practice?
    — How can I improve for the next time?
  • Which elements of the job or organization appealed to me and which did not?
    — List positives and negatives if you are considering more than one role.
  • What are the names of everyone with whom I interviewed?
  • Were there any anecdotes or stories that came out of our conversation?
    — You can include these points of connection in a later communication.  Interviewers appreciate candidates who remember specific details
    — Did the interviewer give me helpful advice? Did we come from the same hometown? Share a similar background? Support the same sports team?
  • What additional questions do I have — so that I can follow up as needed?

What do you do if you haven’t heard from the organization?

Organizations will usually provide you with a hiring timeline or a description of “next steps.”

If you were not given this information, you may ask the following questions during the hiring process — preferably at the end of the interview, when you are asking questions:

  • What is your hiring timeline?
  • What are the next steps?
  • Who will contact me about the decision?

When do you follow up?

After interviewing
  • If more than a week has passed after the date when you were told that you would hear something, you may call or or e-mail the organization and ask politely about the status of your application
  • A polite inquiry shows that you are still interested in the organization and may prompt the organization to get on schedule with a response
After submitting written materials
  • If the position description includes an application deadline, choose a follow-up date of 5-7 working days after the deadline
  • If the position description does not include a deadline, follow up 7-10 working days after mailing your materials

Examples of how to follow up by phone or by email

Following up on an application

“Good morning/afternoon/evening.  This is __________, and I am calling to follow up on _________  [name of position].  I recently sent in my letter of application, resume and references, and I am wondering when the search committee will begin reviewing applications.  How will applicants be contacted for an interview?”

“My name is ______________, and I am applying for the ___________[name of position].  I am calling to make sure that my application file is complete and to find out when the interviewing process will begin.”

Following up on an interview

“My name is _____________, and I am calling about the __________ [name of position]. I was interviewed by __________ [name of person who interviewed you], on ________ [date] at __________ [location of interview].  I would like to ask about the current status of my application.”