Pest or Pro: A Quiz to Help You Master the Art of the Post-Interview Follow-Up

Who doesn’t like hearing “thanks?” Virtually, everyone – including hiring managers – appreciate expressions of gratitude. In one survey, 91 percent of hiring managers polled said they liked it when job candidates sent some message of gratitude after an interview.

But everyone knows there’s a fine line between looking like a true professional and coming off as a pest.[1] Do you know how to walk that line?

Here’s a simple quiz to help you master the art of the post-interview follow up. Grab a piece of scrap paper to record your answers. If you think the described behavior is appropriate, jot down an “A.” For inappropriate, choose “I.” We’ll reveal the correct answers at the end of the quiz.

  1. Leave no less than five follow-up phone messages after an interview thanking the interviewer and asking when he/she will make a decision.
  2. Send a letter and call every person you met at the company during your interview.
  3. Send a gift (chocolates, flowers, gift card, etc.) to the hiring manager with a note saying “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
  4. Write a follow-up letter to advance your position in the interviewing process.
  5. If you don’t get an offer, aggressively call or send a strongly worded email to the hiring manager detailing all the reasons why he/she should reconsider the decision.
  6. Use a memorable gimmick – like sending a pair of sneakers and a note saying “I’m the right fit” – to try to advance your case with the hiring manager.
  7. If you’re turned down, call or email the hiring manager asking why you didn’t get the job.
  8. After sending out your initial follow up and hearing nothing, drop by the manager’s office and wait for him/her show up.

Now, here are our answers and a bit on why each is a right or wrong response:

  1. Inappropriate – Start with a call or send an email. Then, try calling at different times of day but don’t leave a voice mail. Wait until you actually get them on the phone to ask about your candidacy. Numerous messages are pesty.
  2. Inappropriate – Follow up with the decision maker or chief influencers, but don’t bug the guys who could become your co-workers. Often, they don’t have the power to help you but they can sure make life difficult if you do get hired. Instead, just send those extra folks you meet just one quick “nice to meet you” note.
  3. Inappropriate – Gifts are for loved ones, not for the people who interviewed you.
  4. Appropriate – Of course! An influence letter is a reasonable, welcome way to facilitate your movement through the interview process.
  5. Inappropriate – Sounds like sour grapes to us, and that’s what a hiring manager will think too. Best case scenario, such behavior will blow your chances of creating a networking contact. Worst case scenario, he/she will view your comment as a threat – and act accordingly!
  6. Inappropriate – Clever isn’t always the best way to grab attention. A well-crafted follow-up letter in which you share some relevant accomplishments would be a more effective approach.
  7. Inappropriate – It would be great to think you could turn every “no” into a yes, or at least a learning opportunity but that’s not always the case. You should simply thank the manager and others with whom you interviewed and let them know you would welcome their feedback. They may or may choose to respond.
  8. Inappropriate – Can you say “stalking?” There’s a difference between being persistent and crossing the line. Lying in wait for someone at their place of work – or anywhere else – leaps across that line and could land you in jail.


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