After a meeting where you can’t help but believe that you “nailed it” you’re feelings quickly turn from gladness to sadness when you hear, “Thank you for meeting us. We’ll get back to you…”
Ouch. This is one of the worst things you can hear if you’ve just met a prospective client or employer that you’d really like to work with. They didn’t tell you, “no” and they didn’t tell you, “yes”; they put you in limbo. Limbo, as I have said before, “sucks.”
For many of you, you’ve been here before; after hearing this phrase you know that the next few days will be agony. You start questioning: if they client/employer is going to call, who else they might be interviewing, whether or not you did enough in your interview, what if you don’t get the job/gig, should you head out with your friends for lunch and risk missing a them calling back when you’re unavailable. The list goes on and on. The point is, you really want this gig/job, and now you might feel like your life is on hold until you hear back. Limbo sucks – I’ve been there too – it’s no fun. The good news is that I can help to keep you out of limbo ;)
While it's not a full-proof plan, I have over the years come up with a pretty effective approach to keep myself out of limbo and keep my sanity! I've found that keeping out of limbo (at least for an extended period of time) is all about getting clients/employers to agree to allow me to follow up and for them to agree to let me know what's going on. Here's how it works...
Client/Employer: Well thanks for coming in, I enjoyed meeting you.
You: I enjoyed meeting you as well, based on what we've talked about, I really feel confident I'd be a good fit for you. [PAUSE] So that I respect your time and privacy (I know you'll have a lot on your plate), when and how would be an appropriate time for me to check back in with you?
Client/Employer: We'll be meeting with other candidates between now and Friday, but feel free to send me an email next week.
You: Sounds great, I'll drop you an email on Monday. [PAUSE] When you do reach a decision - either this week or next, would you let me know one way or another? *
The Follow Up Email You Might Send That Following Monday:
Hello Client or Employer,
I just wanted to quickly follow up with you in regards to the XXXXXXX position we talked about last week. I am sincerely interested in the position and felt I not only connected well with you and your team, but that I'd be a great fit for your organization. If you would like any additional information from me in order to make a decision please let me know, I'd be happy to get that to you.
When you have a moment, please let me know what you've decided - I am eager to hear from you! If you haven't come to a decision yet, please let me know what day this week you'd like me to follow up with you. In either case, if you could take just a couple of moments today and let me know either way I'd appreciate hearing from you.
Thank you again for considering me, I am eagerly looking forward to hearing back from you soon!
I can't promise that clients/employers will comply, even if they've promised...let's face it, some people just aren't going to be honest with you, and again some of them have no intention of ever getting back to you, they just hope that you'll get the hint.
That said, the majority of clients/employers you meet with will probably respond well to the scenario that I've outlined above; this is a how a typical interview will wrap up between you and a client/employer.
Pay close attention to what I suggest that you say back to the client/employer, while you might not want to use my exact words I hope what I have in there will give you some inspiration on what you'd want to say.
Lastly, I wanted you to note that both in the interview and in the follow up email that I've taken a proactive approach to taking the next step: I suggest that you ask the client when YOU should follow up rather than asking, "When might I hear from you?" The beauty of this approach is that it allows YOU to control when the next interaction is going to occur rather than having to wait for the client or employer, which will keep you from being stuck in limbo...great little trick isn't it?
* Note: I would avoid asking this question over email - you might not even get the person to respond if you include it. Preferably you would the opportunity to ask it face-to-face, if that's not possible the phone is probably acceptable as well.