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How to Follow Up after Not Hearing Back from an Interview: Examples and Tips

Advice
June 24, 2022
How to Follow Up after Not Hearing Back from an Interview: Examples and Tips

Getting no response after an interview can be confusing and often leaves candidates in limbo, wondering if they should keep waiting or initiate contact. Even after a good interview, many candidates are still reluctant to follow up because they are scared of rejection or don’t want the interviewer to think they are too desperate. Whenever there is an interaction between two people where one person is asking for something, the second-best answer they can get is “no.” So, there is really no reason for you not to follow up. However, it is not just about following up. The key is doing it the right way. So in this article, we will discuss the right way to follow up if you don’t get a response from the interviewer.

Before we do that, let’s first understand why you may not be getting a response from the interviewer. 

Why Don’t Employers Respond after Interviews?

Normally, you can start considering that the interviewer has not responded only after the time frame specified at the interview has passed. If no time frame is specified, then it is your job to ask and follow up on the process. Nevertheless, here are some reasons why you may still have not gotten a response:

  • They are still interviewing different candidates
  • The interviewer is giving feedback to the employer about the different candidates
  • The employer is busy dealing with other matters outside of the hiring process
  • The employer has not yet chosen the best candidate
  • You were not the best candidate
  • The vacancy has already been closed

How Long Should You Wait after an Interview to Follow Up?

Employers and candidates perceive time differently during the hiring process. The employers know what they are looking for and can take any amount of time to search for that candidate. On the other hand, the applicant is passive, only waiting for a response from the interviewer. Some companies may find their best fit within days, while others can take weeks and even months, depending on what is going on within the company. In fact, people reported a wide range of experiences during a job search:

  • 44 percent of people reported that they heard back from the employer within a couple of weeks
  • 37 percent heard back within a week
  • 4 percent heard back within one day

How to Follow Up If You Don’t Get a Response after an Interview

Suppose you have been ghosted after the interview. In that case, you can take proactive actions to take yourself out of a state of limbo and resolve your confusion. It is advisable to do these steps immediately after the time frame specified by the employer has passed. Sometimes, the interviewer does not specify a time frame. So, we recommend waiting for about a week before carrying out these steps:

Write an email to the interviewer

One of the first and best ways to get closure and re-establish contact with the interviewer is to send them a follow-up letter after the timeline provided has passed. Calling is not advisable because you may come out as being intrusive. Also, following up within the given time frame shows your professionalism. 

The email should not be longer than three paragraphs and should be polite and straight to the point. If your previous interactions with the interviewer were through email, then it is good to reply to the last message rather than start a new email thread. It will remind the interviewer about your previous interactions.

You can also follow up with another email if the first one was not answered. It should just be confirming if your email was received, however, and it should be even shorter than the first. 

Write an email to the head of the department

Having not heard back from the interviewer, you can email the head of the department of the vacancy. Since this person is directly related to the position you are applying for, chances are they will also attend one of the interviews down the line and are heavily involved in determining the most suitable candidate. That is why they may have more information about the situation and answer your queries. The email should be free of errors, and the tone needs to be formal. 

Contact any person working in the company

Find the contact details of anyone working at the company you interviewed to check the vacancy information. They may know if the position has been filled or if the hiring manager is still thinking about the most suitable person. With the information provided by your contact, you will know if the interview was unsuccessful or if there is another reason why no feedback has been provided. 

Proceed with your job search

While waiting for the response, you should keep on searching for other job opportunities until you get the final offer. Even if you feel positive about the interview, there is no guarantee that you will get the job. There may be other suitable candidates who are also waiting for a response. 

If you don’t receive a response even after all the follow-ups, then it is highly likely that they don’t want to communicate with you and have already filled the position. So, you probably did not get the position. That is not always a bad thing, though, because the experience has honed your skills, ensuring that you will be more prepared for the next one. 

How to Write a Follow-up Email

Here are some of the steps you should take when writing a follow-up email:

Step one: Create a strong email subject line

Subject lines are critical because they will decide if the email will be opened or not and how fast. That is one of the reasons why it is always good to follow up with the same person and email conversation.

The best subject line for a follow-up is to reply to the last email thread. For example, if the subject line of the email was:

“Interview for Senior Tech Lead position on Monday (02/05/2022) at 11:00 AM

Once you have typed your email and hit send, the subject line of the email will look like this:

Re: Interview for Senior Tech Lead position on Monday (02/05/2022) at 11:00 AM

The interview is likely to open the email because the subject line clearly indicates what the message is about. However, if most of your discussion was done by phone and you don’t have any previous emails, then your subject line should look like this:

  • Following up regarding the job interview for Senior Tech Lead
  • Job interview for Senior Tech Lead follow-up
  • Interview status for Senior Tech Lead position follow-up
  • Following up regarding interview results of Senior Tech Lead

Step two: Write the body of the follow-up email

Here, you need to keep the contents simple and straightforward. Mention that you are grateful for the first interview and are excited to hear back from them. Now, you are just checking if there is any update on the recruitment process. 

Try not to “beat around the bush” and complicate the email. It is always better to be up front and say what you want. The interviewer should get back to you and probably apologize for the late response, giving a reason for it. After that, they will then give you an update. 

Follow-Up Email Etiquette

  • The greeting should include the recipient’s first name.
  • Explain in the email that you are following up with regard to the previous interview and you want to know the status.
  • Specify the vacancy you are interested in and the date of your interview.
  • Emphasize your interest in the vacancy.
  • Ask for an update and subsequent steps.
  • Keep the email short, precise, and professional.
  • Thank the recipient and sign off with your name.
  • Always check the text for typos and grammatical errors before sending. 

Example Responses If You Do Not Hear Back after an Interview

Follow-Up Email Sample after an Interview

First follow-up email:

“Hi {first_Name},

I hope you are doing well.

I am following up to check if there are any status updates concerning the {job_Title} vacancy I was interviewed for on {date}.

I am excited to find out about the next steps of the hiring process, and the position will be a great fit for me based on my work experience and education. 

Thanks very much,

{your_Name}”

After this email, you need to wait for about five business days for a reply. If there is no response, then you can send the second email:

“Hi {first_Name}

I didn’t get a reply to my last email, so I am writing to check on how the hiring process is going.

If there are any updates regarding the {job_title} vacancy, please let me know. I am still interested and looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks very much,

{your_Name}”

Here is a sample email if the employer says they don’t have any feedback yet:

“Hi {first_Name},

Thanks very much for the information.

Can you let me know when to check back in for updates?

I am really excited about this position and would love to follow up with you. 

Any updates you can share with me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, 

{your_Name}”

What if the interviewer has not responded to any of your emails after the interview?

After sending the first and second follow-up emails and no response is provided, you need to do the following:

  • Ensure that you have waited for two days or more (not counting weekends).
  • Follow up with the same person through the same email you previously sent.

Sample email:

“Hi {first_Name},

I am just checking again to make sure you have been seeing my emails inquiring about updates on the {job_title} position. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you, 

{your_Name}”

Email follow-up to a second person in the company after no response:

Hello {first_Name},

I am writing to find information about the {job_title} vacancy I interviewed for on {date}.

I have already emailed {name of interviewer} last week and did not get any response, so I thought it would help if I contacted you. 

Please let me know if or when you get any updates. I am really excited about this opportunity.

Thank you so much,

{your_Name}”

Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Follow-Up Emails after No Response

When writing a follow-up email after no response, there are some common mistakes people make that can give the interviewer a wrong impression. Here are some of the mistakes to avoid:

Giving Up Too Soon

Lots of people send the first follow-up email and give up because they did not get any response. They often feel that because the interviewer did not get back to them, the position has been filled, or they have moved on with other candidates. While that may be true, it is not always the case. There might just be some internal delays, and following up will let the interviewers know of your dedication and ambition. 

Not Following Up Quickly

While most interviewers will specify a timeline for providing updates, others do not. In that case, you need to wait for about five business days before following up. But don’t follow up much later than that because the interviewer will have lost track of your interactions and the actions that need to be taken. Timing is important.


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