I think it isn’t only my opinion that any serious corporation, or a good hiring manager, should let you know the status of your job application within two weeks of your interview. Is there another round of interviews? Have you been screened out? Is the company interviewing more applicants, and, for that reason, they ask you for patience, because you are still in the mix, and can get the job? It isn’t so hard writing a short message to each applicant, is it? Well, it isn’t. But what outsiders do not know is that hiring processes in most corporations are far from straightforward or organized.
Before you send your follow-up email after two weeks, it is good knowing what can actually be happening in the company. The possible scenarios include: random or perpetual interviewing/hiring (with no deadlines), misunderstanding of different hiring managers, excessive number of interviewed applicants, decision that they will contact only people who succeeded and progressed to next round, and indecisiveness–especially when they interviewed a few good applicants but not a single great applicant for the job. Let’s have a look at each of these scenarios, and how it translates into the follow-up email you should write.
Scenario no. 1: Random or perpetual interviewing of job applicants
In big corporations with thousands or even tens of thousands of employees, the staff fluctuation never stops. Someone is always leaving, employees progress to better positions, leaving their present jobs open for newcomers, the company is growing in size, opening new branches, and so on, and so forth. Big corporations are always hiring, they are always on a hunt for talents, which is a sensible hiring strategy, considering their staffing needs. However, in this scenario, there aren’t typically any deadlines, or exact decision dates.
They simply interview people, and often many of them, with HireVue and other video interview platforms, or even face to face. Relying on the power of their brand, they selfishly think that everyone is ready to wait for ages for their decision, just to get a chance to work for the company. What they simply do is gathering data about job applicants, trying to build a big pool of potential employees. And just when the moment comes that they actually need someone like you, they check the data in their database, the interview with you, and give you a call. This can happen one day after an interview, one week, one month, but even one year!
If you feel that this can be the scenario you are facing right now (and it very well can be if you interviewing for the job with one of the Fortune 100 companies), sending a follow-up email won’t help much. Still you can do it (you do not have much to lose anyway), and opt for one of the following options:
- Thanking them again for the interview, and expressing your desire to work for them anytime in the future (not putting any pressure on them).
- On the contrary, saying that you have other pending offers, and while you prefer to work for their company, you need a job now, and cannot wait. In this case you ask them for immediate decision, or at least for some information about the next steps.
Samples of the follow-up emails after two weeks, for scenario no.1, option no .1 and 2:
Dear Mr. [Name of the person who led the interview with you, or a person you have a contact on from the company],
I want to thank you again for the opportunity to interview with you for the position of [name of the position], on [date of the interview]. It has been two weeks since our meeting, and I still eagerly wait for any news from you. Just wanted to let you know that your corporation is my no. 1 choice, and I will be glad to get an offer from you anytime in the future.
[your name and contact details]
For option no. 2, the opening is the same, you qualify yourself, clearly saying who you are, for what position you interviewed and when. The second part changes though:
While I had a great impression from the meeting with you, and can imagine myself thriving in your company, I cannot wait much longer for your decision. Having other offers pending from two other companies, I need to let them know within days whether I take the job or not. You are still my first choice though, and I hope to get your answer within 48 hours, to know whether or not I should take one of the other two offers.
Thank you again and have a great day!
Scenario no. 2: Misunderstanding of different hiring managers or HR employees in general
This one happens in both big and middle-sized companies. Simply anytime more than one person decides about the outcome of any job interview. Most managers are busy, and they do not necessarily agree with one another. Someone likes applicant no. 1, another prefers applicant no. 2, and the third one needs more time to decide, and leaves for a ten days long business trip abroad. Logically in such a scenario, they cannot let the applicants know the decision, because they do not have it yet. This happens quite often, and it is one of the most common reasons why it many times takes weeks to finalize an interview process for some positions, including rather basic ones.
If you suppose this can be the case, it is better sending a neutral follow-up email, simply stating that you still want to get the job and hope to hear from them soon. In this case you can also suggest another meeting or phone call (another short interview), to help them with their decision. Let’s have a look at a sample letter.
Email sample for scenario no. 2
Dear Mrs. [name of the recruiter, ideally the person you talked to, or the one with highest rank in the interviewing panel],
I want to thank you once again for an amazing interview we had on [date of the interview], for a position of [name of the job]. I realize that it is an important position, and it takes time to make a decision.
Just wanted to let you know that if you want to ask me any other questions, on the phone or face to face, I am ready to come anytime. I see this job as a great match for both my skills and personality, and I am still interested in getting it, and ready to do what it takes to succeed.
[your name and contact details]
* May also interest you: Two weeks after an interview and no response
Scenario no. 3: excessive number of interviewed applicants
The only people who think that everything works smoothly in big corporations (and exactly according to the processes they have in place) are people who have never worked there. At the end of the day, even the best team consists of people, and every human being has some weaknesses and makes some mistakes… Hence it can definitely happen that a corporation interviews 200 applicants for two open positions, and once they have all the materials, they just cannot decide about the winner.
Either they didn’t set the criteria clearly initially, or the interviews didn’t provide as much information about the candidates as they hoped for. Now they have a lot of material about a lot of people, and do not know how to move forward. If you think this can be the case, and the reason why you haven’t heard from them in two weeks after the interview, the best thing to do it to try to come up with some innovative, out-of-the-box follow up email, trying to stand out, and get their attention. Needless to say it is a risky strategy, but if there really are just two open spots for 200 candidates, you do not have much to loose anyway :). Let’s have a look at a sample of such an email.
Following-up after 2 weeks with an email, sample for scenario no. 3
Dear Mrs [name of the recruiter],
It’s been two weeks since we talked together, in your beautifully decorated office on the 27th floor, an office I find hard to forget. The pictures on the walls, the faces of people who made your company great. People I admire, look up to, and dream of a day when I will become as successful as they are.
And I felt that I made the first step, the great interview I had with you. I knew from the beginning the competition was enormous, hundreds of applicants. But I also felt that I had something special, that I could offer your company something the others cannot. Didn’t you get the same impression?
It’s been two weeks from the interview, and I eagerly wait for your phone call, or at least a message. And I dream of setting a foot in your office once again, this time to sign an employment contract with your business. But what do you think?
[your name and contact details]
Scenario no. 4: They didn’t contact you because you didn’t make a cut, didn’t progress to the next round of interviews
I do not like such a policy, since it isn’t fair to job candidates who sacrificed time and money to prepare for the interviews, travel there, etc. Nevertheless, many companies of all sizes still have it in place. In such a case, they haven’t contacted you in two weeks simply because you weren’t on the list of candidates shortlisted for the next round. I know it may be disappointing, but you should not forget that the same fate met the majority of applicants.
As you can likely imagine, a follow-up letter won’t do you much good in this case. If you decide to write one though, you can express your desire to work for the company in the future, should they change their mind, or simply write a general thank you note, to leave the door open for future possibilities. Let’s have a look at the sample.
Sample follow up email for scenario no. 4, 2 weeks after the interviews
Dear Mr. [name of the recruiter],
Thank you again for giving me a chance to interview with your company, for the position of [name of the job]. Two weeks have already passed, and I understand that most likely you decided not to move forward with my application. It is a pity, because I wanted this job a lot, but I also understand that some applicants might simply do better, and you decided for someone else.
Just wanted to let you know that my feelings towards your company hasn’t changed, and I will be glad to receive any offers or interview invitations from you in the future. Thank you, and I wish you best of luck in your job.
[your name and contact details]
Speaking honestly, sending a follow-up email two weeks after the interview won’t often change the outcome of your job application. Maybe in 10% of cases, if we are optimistic 🙂 On the other hand, you cannot lose anything sending it. In the worst possible scenario it will simply be ignored, and you won’t get any response.
As you understand now, there are many possible reasons why they haven’t let you know their decision yet. I tried to cover the most common ones in this article. You should adjust your follow-up letter to the scenario you expect, based on the things you know about the company, and the particular hiring process. And if you aren’t sure, just pick the one you like the most, insert your data and send it. Hope if helps, and good luck in your interview!
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