If you have ever wondered how to follow up on a job interview or potential business opportunity while coming across as a true professional and not a pest, you are not alone. At one time or another, we have all waited on pins and needles for someone to get back with us when their call or email was taking longer than expected. The commonly asked question is, "Should I reach out to ask if they have made a decision?" The answer is yes; a follow up is in order, and a thoughtful delivery will make a favorable impression instead of moving your name down the list. It's your responsibility to know how to proceed.
Here are my etiquette tips for following up with a potential employer or client:
- Don't take the pause personally. Even when the silence feels discouraging, remember to keep the tone of your inquiry positive. A friendly email, expressing your continued interest and enthusiasm can serve as a reminder and may reinforce, or reignite, their attention.
- Measure your persistence. There's a fine line between being assertive and irksome. During the initial meeting, ask if there is a timeline you can expect to hear back and a preferred method of communication. Some people favor corresponding by email while others would rather you give their office a call. The general rule is to factor in at least a week for a decision to be finalized unless you are aware of a shorter time frame. The decision maker needs enough time to process your application, or review your proposal and speak to other members of their team. Waiting too long is not an option. After a week, you can feel certain other contenders are getting back on the radar and you should do the same.
- Be strategic on social media. During the final selection process, recruiters and potential employers are doing their research. While an intelligent post is not the same thing as a follow up, it's something you can do in the interim to keep your online reputation strong and vibrant. You never know what is going on during the quiet period. Saying something like, "On pins and needles while waiting to hear if I got the job!" is not a smart choice for a tweet or post. Show your value by offering quality information in your social media content.
- Respect the timeline. If you have been told a decision won't be made for three to four weeks, expecting an answer within the first week is slim. Job interviews are still being conducted, and proposals are being collected to compare price and value. Calling every other day makes you look anxious and can signal desperation.
- Don't overlook a final thank you note. Regardless of the outcome, conclude the experience with a thank you note expressing your gratitude for their time. If the news was not in your favor, don't despair. A missed opportunity may turn into a potential merger or collaboration in the future. No matter how big the city, it's a small world and you will no doubt meet again.
You may also like Diane's recent article, Job Interview Etiquette. For more business etiquette tips, visit Diane's blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and Instagram and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.