You landed the first interview, and you felt you really knocked it out of the park. You’re supposed to hear back in a few days, and then that time passes with no follow up interview or call….what do you do?

Being either an in-person or phone interview, waiting to hear back can be tough.  As Tom Petty put it, “the waiting is the hardest part.”

Below are a few tips on how ease the “staying in touch” part of the job search and landing that follow up interview :

Ask About Next Steps (Before You Leave the Interview)

Be sure to ask the interviewer what the next steps in the interview are. Typically interviewers will provide a timeline when you should expect to hear back from them, but if they don’t, you’ll want to make sure you find out. That way, you know exactly when it’s acceptable to begin to follow up without seeming overbearing or pushy.

Write Thank You Notes ASAP

Regardless of the timeline, it’s critical that at the very least you send a thank you note to each person who interviewed you as soon as the interview is over! This is by far the most important tactic you can use to have a better chance of securing the position. Though a handwritten thank you note is nice, a well-written email works just as well, as you never know when a mailed note will arrive.  

Thank you notes should go out no more than 24 hours after your interview session!

Keep your thank you note short and sweet, and be sure to include the following:

  1. Thank them for the opportunity to interview for the position.
  2. Highlight how you plan to bring value to the organization, and why you’re the perfect person for the job.
  3. Express your excitement at the idea of coming to work for their company.
  4. Reference something noteworthy that went well during the interview (such as a hobby you shared with an interviewer, an answer to a question that received a “wow” response, or other interests you may have in common). This is a great way to get them to remember you!
  5. Optional: if you believe they are hesitating to consider you for the position, and you know why or have a good guess as to why, put in a brief plug on how you would overcome their concerns if chosen for the job.

Make the LinkedIn Connection

We recommend that you invite your interviewers to connect after the interview as well, timely with your thank you note. As always, be sure to personalize the connection request versus sending a blank connection. You can use a similar approach as with the thank you card, referencing the role you interviewed for, and your continued interest in the opportunity.

Whether you end up with that company or not, you still will have the long-term professional relationship. This can be beneficial down the road, as likely anything you share or post will show up on their timeline, which can help keep your name top of mind for future opportunities.

Best Follow Up Practices

In an ideal world, an interviewer will contact you by the date he or she had indicated. In the event that you don’t hear back by a few days past that date and after sending your thank you note, utilize the following three-step approach for best results in landing a follow up interview:

The First Voicemail

Leave a short voicemail a few days past when you expected to hear from the company. Keep an upbeat, enthusiastic tone. For example:

“Hi (insert interviewer name), this is (your name) and I’m calling regarding the (insert job title) position that we discussed on (insert interview date). During our discussion, you indicated that I should receive an update from you by (insert that date) but I haven’t yet, and I’m still very interested in this position.

(Insert interviewer name), I will try calling you back on (insert date 3-5 business days out) in the event I don’t hear from you by then. You can reach me anytime at (insert your cell phone) or feel free to email me at (insert your email address).  Thanks and I look forward to connecting with you soon.”

Instead of asking your contact to call you back, which leaves the ball sitting completely in their court, this approach keeps you in control.  

Next Step: Voice and Email

If they still don’t call you back, make the second follow up call on the date you indicated in your message. If you have to leave another message, give them another callback date 3-5 days out, adding that you’ll send over an email as well, in case that’s easier for them.

In this email, consider forwarding the hiring manager interesting relevant articles to demonstrate your interest in the industry and is more likely to be noticed, as you’re providing something of value. Read industry publications and pick an article on which you enjoy and believe the hiring manager will also enjoy. Keep it short and sweet. This email could look something like:

Hello (insert hiring manager’s name),

I came across (insert article title) and wanted to share it with you. I really enjoyed (insert opinion on article).

I hope all is well and you’re coming closer to a decision regarding (insert job opening). I’m still very interested in this opportunity and look forward to your response.

Third Times the Charm

If you’re still not getting any response, try the same approach one last time (one more voicemail and email) on the date you said you would get back to them.  If you don’t hear anything back after contacting the individual three to four times over the span of a few weeks, it’s probably time to move on, as there’s a high probability you didn’t make the cut.

While it’s not very courteous of your interviewer to leave you hanging, don’t let it get you down.  Instead of dwelling on the situation, it’s best to move on to greener pastures!


If you’re interested in more interview tips, join the upcoming ASCM (formerly APICS) Career Coach Webinar (presented by Founder Rodney Apple) on “How to Nail the Job Interview and Land More Job Offers”.  

You’ll learn more on what to do to improve your odds of landing the follow-up interview, an overview of the interview formats, top interview questions and much more! Sign up here!