Not too long ago, I interviewed at a company that I was really excited about working at—because at the time, I was noticing signs around my current office that I might be unemployed very soon. And as a result, I wanted to hear the words “you’re hired” so badly that I ended up pestering the hiring manager about next steps for the better part of a week. Several “just following up” emails later, I didn’t get it—and I can’t help but think that my persistence ended up hurting me.
But I know how hard it is to simply sit around and wait for a job offer . The good news is that you’re not just resigned to sitting around on your couch for that message to pop into your inbox.
In fact, I have a few better ways to spend your time when you feel the urge to “follow up” one more time.
1. Email Someone Else
When you’re all geared up to write to the hiring manager, it’s really tough to think about doing anything but writing that email. While you shouldn’t give into the urge (because trust me, another message won’t help your cause), you can get a similar amount of satisfaction in reaching to someone in your network you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
Sure, doing this won’t speed up the interview process, but regardless of whether or not you land this job, it never hurts to strengthen your network. And while you might be nervous about reaching out to someone who hasn’t heard from you in a while, don’t worry— we’ve got tips just for that.
2. Keep Searching for Other Jobs
The reality of your situation is simple: You haven’t been offered the position yet. And I know, in many case, you’ve been led to believe that the hiring manager just has to iron out a few details. But even if that is the case, sending a note checking in on your status won’t help you along in the process.
And from my experience as both a candidate and a recruiter, I’ve seen “inevitable” job offers fall through at the very last minute for reasons that no follow-up email would’ve changed.
So until the hiring manager sends you an offer letter, don’t pause your search. I’m not suggesting that it’s time to start assuming the worst, but it’s also important to keep your eye on your ultimate goal: landing a job you love.
In the event that this opportunity falls through, still being in the job hunt process makes diving back in full-force far easier.
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3. Take a Deep Breath and Think About Why You Want to Click Send
As I faced the real possibility of losing my job, I felt as if hearing back from a hiring manager would put me at ease about my current situation. I know that might sound ridiculous, but things were topsy-turvy around the office, and I couldn’t be sure about anything.
But if I’d been honest with myself during those moments of panic, I might’ve realized that I also wanted to send that “remember me, hire me” email because my micromanaging boss was driving me even crazier than usual—making me feel like getting out of that company was more urgent than ever.
What I should’ve done instead was reach out to a friend or colleague I trusted for an old-fashioned venting session. I realize now that I was keeping a lot of my fears about the unknown to myself. And in all honesty, the easiest way to deal with those things was to find someone who was willing to listen and let it all out. I wouldn’t have gotten the news any faster, but I might have learned a thing or two in the process.
If you’re feeling anxious about where you stand in the interview process, that’s a good sign that you really want the job. But at the same time, that’s exactly why you need to show some restraint and avoid checking in with the hiring manager. Writing a follow-up email might make you feel productive, but ultimately you’re not doing yourself any favors. And while you might associate the word “distractions” with “ways to derail your job search,” in this case it’s actually best to do what you can to keep your mind your inbox.
Photo of person on tablet courtesy of Portra Images/Getty Images.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.More from this Author