How to follow-up on a job interview: our expert tips

By Robert Half on 5 May 2023
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

So you secured an interview for a position that could really kickstart your career. The big day arrived, and although nervous, you think it went really well. Now all that is left is to wait for the phone call and find out if the job is yours.

But … it’s been a few days and still no phone call. You expected to hear from them by now. You start to feel a bit anxious. Do you continue to patiently wait, or be proactive and follow-up?

This is a question we’ve all grappled with at times, and there’s a fine line between being too forward and missing your chance. So, how do you know if, when and how you should follow-up on a job interview? To help you avoid making the wrong move in this article we’ll share some best practice guidelines around job interview follow-ups, including an example template you can use, to help you follow-up effectively and at the right time.

Related: How to progress your career in Hong Kong

When should you reach out?

No-one likes the waiting game after a job interview, so to help curb the anxiety, it’s a good idea to ask the hiring manager how long you can expect to wait before you hear back. If you’ve been told you’ll receive a call to advise of the outcome, don’t be tempted to call or email in the meantime, as this can come across as pushy and may even negatively impact your chances of securing the job.

If the date of the expected call has passed, give it at least a few days before you reach out for an update. Understand that there are likely many candidates who are being interviewed, and sometimes the hiring process can take longer than expected. Additionally, the hiring manager may be dealing with multiple vacancies at once, which can further delay a decision.

As Violet Chi, Senior Division Director at Robert Half Hong Kong explains, there is a sweet spot when it comes to following-up on a job interview. ‘If you’re expecting a call back on a certain day and you haven’t heard anything, it’s advisable to wait a minimum of three days before following up, but no longer than a week. This gives the hiring company a few days grace in case they are extremely busy and their hiring timeframe has blown out, without leaving it too long and potentially missing your chance.’

‘It does help to send a thank you letter if you are keen to have feedback after an interview. It shows your interest and at the same time you will get a reply from the employer.’

Related: Here’s why you should never be late for an interview

How should you reach out?

If the time has come to follow-up on your interview outcome, there are some key dos and don’ts around how this should be done. For most organisations in Hong Kong, sending an email will likely be the best method, as it allows you to clearly state who you are and why you are reaching out and has all your details included, which makes it easy for the hiring manager to contact you. If your previous communication has been via another channel, such as messaging through LinkedIn or WhatsApp, or by phone, then use your discretion as to whether a follow-up via those channels is the best option.

Whichever follow-up method you choose, there are some essential dos and don’ts:

  • Do: Keep your tone professional, clearly state who you are and the details of the position and time of interview, be concise in explaining the reason for your follow-up, and importantly, thank them for their time.
  • Don’t: Jump the gun and send your follow-up too soon, fall into the trap of making small talk or being too casual (even if the interview was quite relaxed) or forget to check over your email before you hit send to be sure it is error-free and well-formatted.

Follow-up tips and template you can use

Getting the wording and format of your follow-up right is critical, so to help you get yours right, we’ve put together a template and some tips below.

If you are writing your own email, keep it brief and professional and be sure to include a clear subject line that includes your name and details of the job. Address it to the correct person using their first name (if you have spoken or met and that is appropriate) or title and surname, and keep the body text concise and to the point, stating that you’re reaching out for an update, reiterating your interest in the position and thanking them for their time. Finish by inviting them to contact you with any questions, mention you look forward to hearing from them, and sign off with your full name and phone number.

Follow-up template

Subject: Michelle Taylor – Re: Internal audit manager role, interview 23/3/23

Hi Ms Jackson,

Thank you for your time on Thursday 23 March discussing the internal audit manager role. I feel the position is a great fit for my skills and experience and was hoping to get an update on the next steps in the recruitment process.

Please contact me should you have any further questions.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Michelle Taylor

Related: Find out how much you could be earning in our salary guide

A well-executed follow-up is a must

As you can see, there is plenty to consider when sending a job interview follow-up. Be sure to weigh up the situation carefully before you act, otherwise you may do more harm than good. Be mindful of the timing of your follow-up, as too early can be seen as pushy, and too late might see you miss out. Email is generally the best method for a job interview follow-up, but be sure you keep it professional, precise and to the point.

And if you are not successful on this occasion, don’t give up. Securing your dream job can take time, but the right opportunity is out there! At Robert Half, we can help you land you a role that will kickstart your career. Talk to our experienced Hong Kong recruitment team today on to learn about current opportunities or submit your resume and we’ll be in touch with any suitable roles.

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