The agony of defeat. Over a week has passed since your interview and still no word back. Hold on, wait, this isn’t defeat, not yet anyway. There could be a thousand reasons why you haven’t heard back from the interviewer. This isn’t over, is it?
No. No it’s not. But what now? Maybe all you can think about is that you weren’t hired on the spot — what everyone hopes for, of course. So you didn’t get that “when can you start?” awesomeness (which, by the way, is not really that common). It doesn’t mean you should lose hope, even if you haven’t heard back from the interviewer in weeks.
Because, keep in mind, an employer is on a totally different schedule than you. They have meetings, deadlines and their employees to worry about. Normally they already have someone doing your job. It’s also likely that they’re not in a big rush to hire you. But you must remind them about you, and you must remind them that you want the job.
If you haven’t already sent your prospective employer a thank-you letter (also called a follow up letter), do so now.
Your thank-you letter window, as the experts say, is within 48 hours after your interview, but better late than never. The letter really shouldn’t be too detailed; just make sure it covers all the bases.
For example, you should reiterate your interest in the job, briefly include any relative information that you forgot to mention during the interview, and, lastly, thank them for the interview and the opportunity.
Hand-write the letter (using your best penmanship), drop it off in person or mail it. Emailing is the most common form of following up, but you don’t want to be common. You want to stand out. Make it personalized. A good habit is to have a thank-you letter already prepared before interviews so you can just drop it in the mail afterward.
So when do you give up?
The short answer is: when the position is no longer open.
Until this happens, it’s important to follow up every two weeks. Send the handwritten letter (always try for the 48-hour window) and then send emails after that. Don’t let the passing of time discourage you from contacting the employer.
Often, employers have to wait until all interviews are conducted — and keep in mind that interviewing is often secondary to their actual job. They have to check references, past employers, and sometimes even need a board of trustees’ approval just to hire you. The best thing that you can do is to keep reminding the employer of your qualifications and your desire to work for them. Do this with every job you interview for and don’t stop until you’re in.