When you don’t hear back after an interview, it is tempting to either bury one’s head under the duvet in despair or keep refreshing that email inbox in hopes for some kind of a response. The experience of not receiving a response is very common and shouldn't always be a cause for alarm. It is important to follow-up as getting feedback after an interview is crucial whether you get the job or not.

During the interview

According to legal consultant and communication coach David Parnell, it’s not unreasonable for a candidate to enquire at the close of an interview about when he or she can expect feedback. Just making the enquiry sets up an opportunity to follow up if no feedback comes spontaneously.

If this has not happened, sending a thank you letter to the interview panel can be a great way to stay on the hiring manager’s mind and perhaps can provide you with a time frame.

Should you follow-up after an interview?

If you went through a recruiter, professional agencies will, as a rule, make enquiries routinely on behalf of candidates if feedback isn't freely offered by an employer.

They thrive off such feedback and can play an active role in helping candidates develop winning approaches at interview and gaps in experience for specific roles. Because they’re skilled and experienced professionals, these recruiters aren't interested in clobbering candidates with destructive carping. They’re interested in encouraging and empowering candidates to succeed next time.

For those who want to follow up personally, it’s wise to avoid two common pitfalls: phoning and emailing too much and not phoning and emailing enough.

Being too persistent makes one come across as an irritant while doing nothing gives a “couldn't care less” impression. Set a balanced follow up schedule and stick to it. If feedback still doesn't come, drop it and move on.

"professionalism will almost certainly be remembered but so will a reputation for desperation or rudeness"

Mind your manners

It may seem obvious, but be gracious. Badly worded or terse emails, querulous, badgering phone calls and impatience will more likely burn bridges than build them. A candidate’s level of tact and professionalism while handling setbacks will almost certainly be remembered but so will a reputation for desperation or rudeness.

Stay current

Watch out for connections with people who already work for the firm by regularly checking social media like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook: try to solicit an endorsement, or at least try to discover something about where the hiring process has got to.

Above all, don’t underestimate the value of getting feedback from a professional recruiter. Sometimes, you can be helped to stop banging your head against an unwelcoming door. If an employer consistently neglects feedback to candidates, do you really want to work in such an environment? Use your recruiter’s experience.

What to remember

Employers direct most of their efforts towards ensuring that successful candidates get feedback Sometimes this means that those who have had the misfortune to just miss out at interview need to pursue their own lines of enquiry in order the get useful feedback.

Remember, it doesn't matter whether applicants have pursued receptionist jobs or data analyst jobs, secretarial jobs or marketing executive jobs, everyone needs and deserves feedback – even negative feedback.

To do better next time, a candidate needs to establish how they can improve their interview technique. Sometimes bad news is good news – everyone can learn from their mistakes and slip-ups.