How long should I wait after an interview before following up?

So you’ve sent in your CV for an apprenticeship or traineeship, attended an interview and you’re now eagerly awaiting the call to find out whether they’re going to offer you the position. But the phone isn’t ringing and your inbox is worryingly empty. Sound familiar?

If so, you’re not alone. Waiting for a prospective employer to contact you following an interview is often a difficult time for candidates, particularly when days or even weeks drift past. Sadly, some employers can be guilty of dragging their feet during the recruitment process.

Apprentices and trainees who are still applying for positions can find advice to help them optimise their CV and interview skills at Apprenticeship Central. Sign up to the site to access the Resume Builder function and templates, as well as a number of other apprenticeship and traineeship resources.

A recent Robert Half study revealed that a long post-interview response time is the most frustrating part of a job search for 57 per cent of people. Nearly one-quarter of respondents said they lose interest in the organisation if they’ve not heard back within a week, while 46 per cent are less enthusiastic if they have to wait up to two weeks.

Apprenticeship and traineeship follow-up.

CareerBuilder released similar research last year, with only 26 per cent of businesses saying they proactively keep candidates in the loop at each stage of the recruitment process. Meanwhile 41 per cent of applicants expect to hear back even if they weren’t successful.

Should you follow up?

While the above surveys were conducted in the US, they indicate how a poor recruitment process can damage relationships between potential candidates and employers. But what should applicants do to remedy the situation?

You don’t want to pester the company, especially if you think you did well in the interview.

Most recruitment experts suggest sending a brief email approximately 24 to 48 hours after an interview to thank the hiring manager for their time. How long should you wait before getting in touch again though?

First, if the employer provided you with a timeline of when they’d be making a decision, make sure this has passed before you follow up. You don’t want to pester the company, especially if you think you did well in the interview.

However, following up shows your enthusiasm about the position and there may have been a genuine mistake or hold-up that’s prevented them from contacting you. Once a day or two has passed after the deadline, reach out to the person who interviewed you for an update.

The company should hopefully be able to give you an answer or provide a new timeline if there has been any hiccups during the process. If you don’t hear back from the business after you chased them up once or twice, then it might be best to cut your losses and assume you’ve been unsuccessful in your application.

By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator

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