How keen is too keen? You’ve had your first interview. What do you do next?

How keen is too keen? You’ve had your first interview. What do you do next?

We’ve all been in the same place before: you’ve had a job interview, you feel it went well, you’re anxious to hear from them, but you don’t know what to do. Should I wait for them? Should I get in touch? How long do I wait? These are natural questions that anyone who has waited to hear about a job will know. The answers will depend on the circumstances, but there are a few good rules and tips to follow in any situation.

The first question to consider, one we’ve all worried about: how keen is too keen? But think rationally about it. The first point to get clear is what it means to be keen. Being keen is being determined, it’s being enthusiastic and really wanting the job. Being keen is showing you are committed to getting this job, and doing well in it so you can keep it. Knowing that, should you be worried about coming across too keen? If an employer thinks you’re good for a job, they are never going to be put off hiring you because you seem enthusiastic and driven to get it. In fact, it’s much more likely to go in the opposite direction. If the employer comes down to a choice of two equally qualified people, they will choose the one who seems more committed.

All of that being said though, the issue with how you act while you wait to hear from a job interview is the danger of being annoying. There is a very thin and blurry line between being keen and being bothersome, and this is what leads most people to avoid getting in touch with their interviewer in the first place. Just as positive as it is to come across keen, it can be as big a negative to come across as annoying. If a potential employee is getting on your nerves before they’ve even gotten the job, then chances are they aren’t someone you’ll want to work with.

So how can you avoid this? How can you tread that thin line between enthusiastic and irritating? In the end it all comes down to circumstances and timing. If the interviewer let you know what date you should have heard from them, then don’t ask about the job before then, because that will leave a bad impression on both your patience and your listening skills. However, after that date, you absolutely should get in touch to follow up with them. Generally the best way to do so is with a polite email, just focusing on your enthusiasm for the job and your excitement at hearing from them. And then, rather than ask them for an answer, it seems more reasonable if you simply ask them when to expect to hear. In this short email, you’re showing respect, politeness, understanding, and a willingness to work with them. And if you don’t talk to them in an accusatory way, then any reasonable employer will understand that the deadline for when you should have heard has passed, and will be very willing to give you a helpful response.

Matters can become complicated when the interviewer does not give you a timeframe. For this reason, the best option is to always ask at the end of your interview, so there’s no confusion and to spare you from unnecessary anxiety. Interviewers will very rarely not give you a general timeframe to hear from them if you ask. If you still don’t have an idea of timing though, a good option is always to send a polite and respectful email the day after your interview. This will remind the employer of you and let you stand out, and if you were to ask for a general idea when you’ll hear from them, chances are they will tell you. One key detail though is, whenever you do inquire, only ask about when you should expect to hear from them. Putting them on the spot to tell you if you have the job can be off-putting, and might not get you the answer you want. Whenever waiting to hear from a job, the important things to remember are politeness, respect, and patience.

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