If you’re wondering, “should I call after a job interview?”… then you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to walk you through when you should call (and NOT call) the interviewer after an interview.
There are a couple of situations when it’s appropriate to call after an interview, but many cases where it’s *not* a good idea, so I’ll share everything you need to know below…
It’s appropriate to contact the interviewer after an interview. You can make a follow-up call if you need to clarify or better explain something you said, ask for an update in the hiring process, and more.
However, while it’s okay to call the employer, you’re often better off sending an email, so consider the points below when deciding whether you should call the hiring manager post-interview.
If you need to convey something involving emotion or energy, then a phone call may be best. For example, if you leave the interview and think back to your answer to, “Why did you choose this career?” and you feel you didn’t do a good job of describing why you’re passionate about this line of work, then that passion will come through more strongly in a phone call.
Also, if you’re sharing a piece of information where you’d like to hear their reaction and be able to judge it and respond if needed, then a phone call is best.
For this reason, I often recommend a phone call for post-interview salary negotiation. It’s a complex topic that usually involves some back-and-forth discussion, and you won’t be able to have that conversation if you email the hiring manager.
For most other situations after a job interview, an email is better than a phone call, and I’ll explain why below.
First, with an email, you have a chance to choose each word carefully. You can write a draft, have a friend give their input, wait a day, and then send it to the hiring manager.
So there’s no pressure and no chance you’ll say something you regret.
Also, hiring managers tend to be busy, so they’ll appreciate an email since that allows them to respond when they’re comfortable. A lot is happening in the typical hiring process and it may stress a hiring manager to receive an unexpected phone call.
So if something isn’t urgent or you don’t need to have a back-and-forth discussion about the topic, then email may be the right choice.
You can also use email to bring up a point and suggest a pre-scheduled follow-up call. That’s a good “hybrid” option.
For example, you could email the hiring manager and say:
I was thinking about my answer to why I applied to the role, and I don’t think I did a great job of explaining the main reasons this job excites me, which it does. I’m sure you’re busy, but if you’re available for a quick follow up call at any point this week, I’d love to share a bit more about my research process, how I came across your firm, and a couple of the recent articles I read that made me excited to apply here. I just didn’t articulate it well in the interview, despite doing a lot of research into the role and your firm before I applied.
If you need more help deciding if it’s okay to call the recruiter or hiring manager after an interview, the following questions will help you decide…
The first question to ask yourself when deciding if it’s okay to contact the interviewer after an interview is:
In general, hiring managers and employers are busy. So if something is simple and can be said via email, that’s often the best choice.
I’m a big fan of contacting the company after an interview in general – if you forgot to mention something, if you thought of a question to ask, etc.
However, in many cases, email is a better choice than a follow-up call.
So that leads us to the next question to ask yourself when deciding whether you should call after the interview…
If your answer to this question is “yes”, I’d consider sending an email.
Since hiring managers are busy, they’ll be able to read this when it’s convenient.
You could even use a follow-up email after the interview to schedule a time to touch base on the phone. That way you know you’re getting them at a good time.
However, if they haven’t been answering your emails, then a call makes sense! That brings me to the next point.
If you sent an email and waited 3-4 business days without a reply, then calling the interviewer or employer is a good logical next step!
If the company isn’t answering your emails, they really can’t blame you for calling them. So go ahead!
If so, I strongly recommend an email instead (if you haven’t already).
However if you’ve tried emailing and got no response after a few days, then calling is a good option.
As mentioned in point #3 above, don’t be afraid to use the phone if you’ve exhausted other options like email.
If this is the case, I’d recommend sending a thank-you note or email.
It’s not recommended that you call the interviewer after an interview to thank them for their time (although an email or note is a must-do!)
Try to ask this at the end of each interview in the future, but if you’re unsure what to expect moving forward, it’s okay to contact the company to ask.
However, sending an email is better first option in most industries.
It depends on your industry and the specific people you’re talking to, though. I’ll discuss more about deciding if this person who interviewed you would want to be called in points 9 and 10 below.
If you’re unsure if the interview went well, or have a bad feeling, you really can only wait at this point. Calling won’t make things better, and it might just make it worse.
So if you finished your interview in the last day or two, just wait for feedback.
You can also read this article with 15 ways to know if your interview went well or badly.
This can be a good reason for calling the employer after the interview.
If you have one specific thing you want to add or one question you wish you had answered differently, you can call them up and mention it.
However, like with almost everything mentioned above, you could also do this via email if you’re more comfortable. It’s up to you. But this is a valid reason to call after the interview.
This is an obvious sign it’s okay to call. If they gave you their phone number or a business card with their number on it and said to reach out if you needed anything, then go for it!
However, if you dug their phone number up through Google or something else, I’d be more hesitant and would recommend email instead.
I come from a background in Tech Recruiting, and Biotech/Pharma before that. Those are pretty modern industries that use technology a ton.
As a tech recruiter, we’d use instant messaging and LinkedIn messenger to send resumes, etc.
However, I know other industries are still much more formal/traditional.
So when you decide whether you should call after an interview, you’ll need to consider the specific people you’re talking with.
What industry is this? Is it very formal and relies more heavily on phone than email? Or is it more modern and tech-savvy?
And who is the hiring manager or person you’d be calling? What do they seem to use to communicate more often? How has the employer communicated with you up until this point? (For example, when scheduling your interviews, etc.)
Asking yourself those things will give you clues about whether it’s a good idea to hop on the phone or just send an email instead after the interview.
While it’s appropriate to call a hiring manager or recruiter after your interview, there are some key differences.
As a former recruiter, I’d suggest that you can be a little more relaxed about calling a recruiter after a job interview. Their job revolves around talking to candidates and facilitating the hiring process.
However, you should be more selective in when to make a follow up call to a hiring manager. They have many responsibilities outside of the job interview process. They’re managing a team, they have goals in their role aside from hiring, etc.
So be more selective in terms of calling hiring managers in your job search, and use the questions and info above to decide between a phone call and email.
However, if you’re anxious or highly concerned about something in your job search, and it’s going to distract you until it’s resolved, then go ahead and pick up the phone. Phone calls show you’re taking initiative, which is one plus that can help you get the job.
That brings me to my next point…
I’d recommend following the advice above, but if you’re still not sure, just pick up the phone and call the interviewer or hiring manager. It’s not worth stressing for a week after your job interviews when there’s something you feel the need to clarify.
The worst thing that happens is your potential employer sees that you’re excited about the job and not afraid to take initiative when you want something.
And most importantly – you’ll get whatever your concern is off of your mind so you can go back to focusing on applying for more jobs, preparing for other interviews, etc.
Most things are communicated just as well by email, so that’s a better first step usually. However, if you’ve already tried emailing and have not gotten a response, calling on the phone is okay.
It’s also okay if the interviewer gave you their phone number and invited you to call if you needed anything.
Some very traditional industries prefer phone calls and would look down upon an email, so use your best judgment to assess your industry, too.
And finally, if you just have a strong preference for calling, you should go ahead and call the interviewer after the interview. It’s better than spending days waiting nervously and feeling distracted when you should be getting back to your job search (yes, you should be applying for more jobs until you accept a job offer!!)
Aside from these cases mentioned above, an email is typically a better first option for contacting most employers after an interview.
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter who has worked with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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