I tend to be impatient about most things in life, but I get extra antsy when I know I’m up for a job that I really, really want. And a few years ago, someone suggested that I channel my skittish nature into something more positive by emailing the hiring manager with additional questions a few days after our meeting had wrapped up.
In a lot of ways, this was good advice. But I didn’t quite think it through, and I ended up sending a series of follow-up emails that included questions like, “Do you have a rough idea of when you’ll be in touch with next steps?” Or when I was feeling even less inspired, I’d ask things like, “Just wondering if you still remember me from our interview last week.” Suffice it to say that these questions didn’t win me any brownie points—or the job.
When I was a recruiter, I realized that this advice is even more widespread than I could have imagined. In fact, I lost count of how many times candidates emailed me with these types of questions. And even though I appreciated the fact that they sent me a quick note, the reality was that I could see right through them and could tell that they were only asking because they wanted to get updates (and ideally, exciting ones).
But one candidate did follow-up in a way that caught my attention. And the beauty of it was that not only did it reinforce the fact that she was smart and interested in our company, but it was also incredibly straightforward.
I really enjoyed meeting you last week and wanted to emphasize just how excited I am about this opportunity. Is there anything else I can forward along to make your hiring decision easier?
I remember being floored by the ask. This candidate had already completed an interview assignment , and the only reason she hadn’t heard from us was that we were trying to figure out how much we could pay her. And yet, she took the initiative to make sure that we had all the necessary information we needed to make a decision, without making too many assumptions about whether or not we should hire her.
Hiring managers do their best to request everything they need from you—from writing samples to interview projects to answers that explain your resume gaps. As a recruiter, I remember a few instances in which the hiring manager said to me, “We’re missing a document and we’re still not clear on why she didn’t list her last boss as a reference, but I think I have the information I need to take a pass.”
So, while it won’t always tip the scales in your favor, reaching out not only shows that you’re on top of your game, but it also gives you one last chance to make your case for yourself in case anyone’s on the fence. If nothing else, it’s an easy way to show the employer that you’re a hard worker who has a sincere interest in joining this organization—and not someone who’s just looking to find any old new job.
Photo of people shaking hands courtesy of Thomas Barwick/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