What’s the Best Timeline to Follow Up After an Interview?

You planned your interview outfit down to the smallest detail, you aced all of the questions, and you wrote the perfect thank you note. So, how long do you wait before following up with the manager?

When you’re excited about a job, you’re refreshing your email and checking for a voicemail message every few minutes. But more often than not, the hiring manager is not on that schedule. They’re meeting with stakeholders, reviewing their budget and, yes, meet with more candidates.

Here’s how to figure out when you should follow up with a hiring manager:  

Decide to follow up

First, let us be clear: following up in an appropriate and respectful way is an important way to show you are interested in the position, and it keeps your name front-of-mind for the hiring manager. It can also help you establish your skills in communication, organization and taking initiative. It’s not a question of whether you should follow up, it’s a question of when.

Wait X business days

There’s no official rule about how long you should wait to follow up on an interview, but an informal poll on Twitter found that 49 percent of hiring managers who responded prefer candidates follow up after five days.

This is compared to the job seekers we polled, of whom 37 percent wait five days, 36 percent wait a full week, 11 percent wait two weeks, and 16 percent don’t follow up.

What’s the best follow-up time for you? It will depend on the company and the role. In general, one full business week is the minimum you should wait before reaching out. This gives the hiring manager at least some time to meet with other candidates or reflect on interviews with other stakeholders.

Beyond this first week, smaller companies tend to move faster on hiring decisions, as well as companies hiring for positions that became vacant quickly, but the process may extend as long as three to four weeks in medium and large-sized businesses.

Follow up carefully

When the time comes to follow up, do so carefully. Personalize a template to make your first contact, and if the hiring manager shuts you down or asks you not to follow up, be sure to follow those instructions.

Your goal is to make it clear how interested you are in this position, not hassle them to death until they hire you. And if they never respond, even though you had a stellar interview? Here’s what you should do if the trail goes cold.

How long do you wait before following up with the hiring manager? Let us know in the comments below.