Oct. 21, 2010 – Although the time between interviews and hiring decisions is taking much longer today, numerous people are not getting jobs because they are not following up frequently and aggressively enough, according to OI Partners, a global talent management firm.

Your follow-up efforts after interviews need to be proactive and assertive without becoming irritating. Most people are not fully following up after telephone and personal interviews, according to OI Partners.

“There are various reasons why hiring decisions are taking longer. Many employers seem to be waiting for the ideal person to walk through the door, a ‘home run.’ Some hiring managers are reluctant to be the sole decision-makers if new hires do not work out. And others may be holding off because they are expecting new business that has not yet materialized. In most cases, companies do not share this information with candidates,” said Tim Schoonover, chairman of OI Partners.

“The period between the final interviews and hiring is an opportunity for candidates to actively influence decisions. It’s important to understand the decision process and timing so you can build an outreach plan,” Schoonover said.

After four to six weeks, companies figure that most finalists will just assume they have hired someone else, Schoonover said. “People who are most persistent in following up are demonstrating leadership, and that is one reason they finally get offers. Following up does not mean merely calling and asking where a company is in its decision-making process. Instead, people should utilize a variety of ‘touch base’ approaches,” added Schoonover.

Among the follow-up tactics that Schoonover and OI Partners recommend are:

  • Spell it out beforehand: Establish during the interview what the next step will be, and when and how it would be appropriate for you to follow up – by phone, if possible.
  • Initiate follow up immediately: It’s critical to send a follow-up note, or letter, or e-mail, within 24 hours of the interview – and to each person you saw who may have a vote in the hiring decision.
  • Use a rotating cycle strategy: Keep in touch with the company on an ongoing cycle, every 7 to 12 days or so.
  • Personalize each follow-up: Each follow-up communication must be personalized to the topic of what was discussed with that particular person. Do not send any form letters, or the same letter to each person.
  • Develop different ways to reach out: Within 5 days or less, find a reason to reach out to the hiring person and other key participants in the decision process. Send them a link to an interesting article that relates to business challenges and work projects discussed during the interview process. The idea is to reinforce the potential value you will bring as part of the team.
  • Follow up by phone: A well-placed follow-up telephone call to the hiring manager and human resources within five days to reaffirm your continuing interest is vital. If they say they are still interviewing, determine when it would be appropriate to call back.
  • Show your continued interest: After 7 to 10 days, send an e-mail demonstrating your continued interest in the position.
  • Set yourself apart: Do something that will give you added recognition, such as write an article for a trade publication, or be a speaker at a conference. If you are participating in an educational activity, update them on how this relates to the competencies of the job for which you interviewed.
  • Ask whether you are still in the running: You can – most likely only once – ask if they are still considering you as a viable candidate.
  • Give them a chance to counter-offer: If and when you receive another valid offer, but still would like to work for the company, call or e-mail them that you have another opportunity. Tell them they are your first choice, and give them a short 24 or 48 hour timeline within which to make an offer.
  • Don’t stop your job search: Most importantly, don’t stop the job search. Continue your campaign until you get the job you want.
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