You’ve perfected your CV, you've submitted your application and took all the steps to have a successful job interview. You can finally let out a sigh of relief — except now comes the hard part: Waiting to hear back.

Following a job interview, many candidates simply wait to hear the hiring manager’s decision. It is up to the employer after all and there isn't much one can do about it, right?

Actually there is something you can do: one of the easiest ways to stand out in a job search is to follow up.

“Following up is critical in showing your continued interest in a job opportunity” says Els Van Der Veken, Senior Manager. "Conducting a proper interview follow-up can play a key role in giving you an extra edge over other candidates when looking to land your next job. Find the right balance between being persistent but avoid becoming a burden to the hiring manager."

Staying polite and following established practice about when it is acceptable to follow up after an interview will demonstrate your tenacity and enthusiasm and could help you secure your dream job.

Read below to understand the 4 key steps to successfully following up after a job interview.

1. Send a thank you mail

Sending a simple email thanking the interviewer for their time is a great opportunity to remain connected with them and keep you in the front of their mind.

Take the time to write a separate thank you mail to each person that interviewed you. It will demonstrate that you are attentive to detail and that you understand the importance of remaining in contact with all relevant stakeholders.

“Remember to thank them for having taken the time to see you and offer to supply any additional information they might need to help them reach a decision about who to hire for the role” advises Els. It is best to send out your thank you notes  within 24 hours of your interview at the latest.

2. Know when to expect feedback

Politely asking your interviewer about the timeline for making a hiring decision should be one of your top priorities before leaving a job interview. This will help you to properly time your follow-up attempts without seeming over eager or bothersome.

Keep the time table in mind before you make your next move. “If you have not heard back by the expected deadline, you will have a valid reason to touch base and ask for information regarding the status of their decision. It will show that you are engaged and motivated about the role.”

3. Connect on LinkedIn

Remember that every professional interaction is a networking opportunity and job interviews are no exception. Try to find a good reason as to why you will ask your interviewer to connect with you via LinkedIn during the interview (offering to share an interesting article you’ve come across for example).

In addition to showing that you understand the importance of networking, doing so will also provide you with a valuable new professional contact, even in the worst case scenario if you don’t secure the role.

“Always ask first in person before connecting via LinkedIn with your interviewer. While some people won’t be bothered with a spontaneous LinkedIn connection request,  it is always wise to be cautious and show that you have a conscientious attitude to online networking.”

4. Check in occasionally if the process drags out

Sometimes, companies will put hiring procedures on hold due to budget issues or internal restructuring, leaving candidates tempted to simply abandon the process. But if it is a role you are truly enthusiastic about, there may not another option.

“Repeatedly contacting your interviewer to ask if there has been any changes is unlikely to be successful, but maintaining contact can still be important” says Els.

Think about the conversation you had with your interviewer – did they offer any general career advice or mention any topics of interest? Find relevant articles you could share with them online. By keeping an open line of communication once a month or so, you can increase your chances of being kept in the loop may the role be reopened or may new opportunities within the company arise.

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