By Dorcas Karuana,

You went for a job interview recently and probably feel you did well and now you could be staring at your phone and wondering when you will get the call informing you that you were the successful candidate. A few days go by, then a week and by the time it reaches two weeks you wonder if you will ever get that call.

The best way to pre-empt this waiting game is to ask at the end of the interview what the timeline will be for a decision. By asking about this during your own interview, you can better manage your expectations. If you didn’t inquire along these lines or your prospective employer has blown its stated deadline for making a decision, you’ll need to follow up to know where you stand. Here’s how:

Immediately after the interview

Nobody is suggesting you send your interviewer an email asking if you’re on the shortlist immediately after your initial interview. Do however; send a quick “thank you” note as soon as possible. You can end this note by saying, ‘I look forward to hearing back from you soon.’ This type of follow-up may not solicit a response from the interviewers, but they at least know that you are interested in the position. It also gives you another find out how long it will take for the organization to make a decision.

After one week

Make a quick phone call, or send a short email to your point person at the company. State which position you interviewed for and reaffirm your interest in the role, stating something specific and memorable. For example, you might have learned in the interview that the company is embarking to launch a new product that is similar to a project you completed in your last role. Use your message to further demonstrate your value.

After two weeks

No word yet? Follow up again, briefly and offer to clarify any questions they might have or come in for another meeting. Keep the tone upbeat and deliver your message with confidence. Employers are looking for people who are passionate about the position and their company, so don’t hesitate to convey your sincere enthusiasm.

After 3+ weeks

If you haven’t heard back in more than a month, it’s likely that the position has been filled by someone else, the corporate requirements changed and the position no longer needs to be filled or it’s possible the decision is being dragged out for any number of reasons (budget, illness, etc), so don’t hesitate to follow up one last time. Eventually, though, let it go. Too much checking in gives you a reputation for being a nuisance which it the last thing you want to be perceived as.

Whenever you follow up with a potential employer, remember that this is business, not personal. Be positive in your wording, not accusatory. How you say it is just as important as what you say. Professionalism and diplomacy are important in follow up emails. Recruiters receive hundreds of emails and conduct numerous interviews, so it’s best not to put an them on defensive if you have not heard back from the employer.

Dorcas is the Head of Recruitment at Corporate Manpower East Africa. Email: