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This Is Exactly When You Should Follow Up After a Job Interview

Hiring mangers have revealed their secret to the perfect follow-up timeline.

A job interview can be nerve-racking, and those nerves don't disappear once the interview is over. One major reason: We're usually unsure about whether or not we should follow up after an interview, and how long we should wait if we do. Fortunately, experts are spilling their hidden secrets on what they think is best—and it includes two separate follow-ups. According to hiring experts, you should follow up with a preliminary thank you email within two days of your job interview, and then follow up about the job a week after that. Read on to find out why this is the best timeline, and for job application mistakes you need to avoid, discover The Worst Thing You're Lying About on Your Resume.

"There are generally two different types of follow-up emails you can send after an interview," says Peter Yang, a hiring manager with more than 20 years of experience and CEO of Resume Go. "The first is sent the day of the interview, and is meant to thank your interviewer for their time and to show that you are still enthusiastic about the job. The second type of follow-up email is sent a week or two after the interview if you haven't gotten any type of response from the interviewer, and is written to check in on the status of the hiring process."

Yang says the timing of your second follow-up is essential because you don't want to seem as if you're nagging by sending a follow-up too quickly. But you also don't want to wait too long, as an employer may have already made up their mind by that point. While the timeline can be somewhat flexible, Yang says the most important part is to listen to the actual interviewers.

"One thing to keep in mind is that interviewers often let you know towards the end of an interview about when they'll likely contact you," he explains. "Pay attention to this information, and don't send a follow-up email before the estimated date they've given you for when you'll likely get a response."

And pay attention to the time of day you send your follow-up, as well. Ed Spicer, the hiring manager for Pest Strategies, says he almost always responds to follow-up emails if they're sent toward the end of the day.

"Reach out to the hiring manager in the afternoon, not the morning. Their workload is probably lighter later in the day, so you're more likely to get a speedier response if you follow up [then]," he explains.

Of course, there are other important things to keep in mind when it comes to crafting the right follow-up email. For some more insight from hiring experts, read on, and for jobs you might want to apply for, check out these Remote Jobs You Didn't Know Existed.

Reference the specific job you applied for.

dressed man on computer

Some companies are not just hiring for one position at that time, so they may be interviewing hundreds of applications for various jobs. That's why Joe Flanagan, the senior employment advisor at VelvetJobs, recommends reminding the person you are emailing your name, the position you're applying for, and the date that your interview occurred. Including this in your follow-up email will allow the recipient to easily and quickly put a face to the email. And for more errors to avoid in the job process, check out these Résumé Writing Mistakes That Would Totally Horrify HR Managers.

Follow the "3 S" rule.

man fidgeting in front of a laptop, things you do that you didn't know had words

John Li, the co-founder and recruiter for Fig Loans, says you should always follow the 3 S rule when following up after an interview. That means keeping it "Simple, Short, and Suggestive." Li says all you need to do is make sure you respect your recruiter's time, while also making it clear that you are still interested in the position. And for more useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Keep it professional.

Smiling businesswoman sitting in the living room and working on her laptop computer.

Don't start cracking jokes or trying to build too friendly of a rapport before you have secured the job, says Rick Hoskins, founder and hiring manger of Filter King. Your email should "remain professional and polite," and free of any friendly banter or continued jokes that may have occurred during the actual interview. And for more things to avoid, avoid these Lies Everyone Tells During a Job Interview.

But also make sure there is some sort of personalization.

Young woman using computer laptop with hand on chin thinking about question, pensive expression. Smiling with thoughtful face. Doubt concept.

While you should avoid being too friendly in your follow-up email, it also shouldn't sound like a copy-pasted version of a follow-up email you could send to any company. Rick Weaver, management recruiter for recruiting firm Patrice & Associates says that it is "easy to see the lack of personalization" if you're sending a standard message. He recommends adding in something you discussed during the interview—perhaps about the company, or about the recruiter—to make your follow-up unique. And for essential interview advice, try these Interview Tips Hiring Managers Wish You Knew.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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