Employment interviews can be exhausting and time-consuming experiences. Researching the company ahead of time and answering tough questions during the interview is challenging enough. However, waiting to hear back about your candidacy status can be sheer agony!

The solution: Use this four-step strategy to follow up in a professional manner without being a pest and feel in control at the same time. And if the career opportunity appears to be a “no-go,” this will close the loop and help you move on.

1) Get permission to follow up. Don’t leave the interview without it! When your interview ends, ask the decision-maker when you can expect to hear from him/her regarding the status of your candidacy. If he/she responds with: “I’ll call you to let you know our decision,” you can say, “You’ll call me? Great! When can I expect your call? Next Monday? Okay! If I don’t hear from you by Monday, would it be alright if I follow up with you by phone on Tuesday?” Usually, the interviewer will say “yes” — especially if you are a strong candidate.

2) Reiterate in writing. Send a thank you letter to each person you interviewed with. While email is faster, a hard copy will create a more lasting impression amidst email clutter. Your letter should: a) express appreciation for the interviewer’s time; b) restate your interest in the position; c) recap highlights of the interview; and d) summarize your qualifications. In your letter to the decision-maker, say that you look forward to speaking with him/her on the agreed-upon date regarding the next step in the interview process.

3) Pick up the phone. If the decision-maker hasn’t called, follow through with your planned phone call. The best time to reach decision-makers directly, without being routed to voicemail, is before or after regular work hours. If you get voicemail, leave this message: ” Hi . This is , a candidate for the position. I was expecting a call from you yesterday, regarding my status. I haven’t heard from you, so I’m following up as we agreed. Once again, this is and my number is . I look forward to hearing from you soon, thanks!” Do this once a week, but stop after four times.

4) Close the loop and move on. If you’ve faithfully completed steps 1-3 above and you’ve gotten no response, most likely another candidate has been selected or the hiring process might temporarily be on hold. For your own well-being, it’s worthwhile to follow up one more time to close the loop and move on. Use this script, which is adaptable to voicemail or email:

“Hello , I’ve followed up with you on ; then four times after that and still haven’t heard from you. I’m assuming your hiring process is taking longer than expected, which is totally understandable. However, I want you to know that I’m continuing my search and may not be available in the future. So, I’d appreciate if you could let me know where I stand by , so we can both move forward. Thanks again for your time and consideration up to this point.”

Taking this final step will help get you off of dead center by:

a) Conveying to the hiring manager that you won’t wait forever; if they want to hire you, they’d better act quickly;

b) Allowing you to put closure on the situation, so you won’t waste any more energy on it;

c) Clearing your mental clutter to allow other opportunities to come your way.

Following up in a professional manner is good for your reputation, self-confidence and peace of mind. With these scripts in hand, you can manage any jitters and keep yourself moving towards the dream job that awaits you.

© 2012 Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach. All Rights Reserved