Why Hiring Managers Expect Direct Follow-up

It used to be that hiring managers might be upset if a recruiter shared their email address with a candidate. Now they expect direct follow-ups from people they interview.

So, what’s changed?  

The short, uncomplicated answer is that nothing has changed – hiring managers have always wanted to see initiative and follow-up from candidates.  

The slightly longer, more complicated explanation is that timing, etiquette, and format play a role. For example, after an initial phone interview hiring managers have always appreciated the candidate conveying their interest via their recruiter. However, if this were 2002, any direct contact early in the process, without specific permission, would come off as too aggressive. 

Back then (in the day!), the etiquette was to ask your interviewer for their business card at your formal face-to-face meeting, later in the process. You would then use that email address to send a follow-up. If a candidate somehow got the email before that, many hiring managers viewed this as carelessness from the recruiter, as good recruiters are supposed to protect the hiring manager’s “private information.” They also may have seen it as out-of-line on the candidate’s part, as part of the point of hiring a recruiter is that all communication goes through them. Times have changed, but adherence to sound communication remains critical. 

Today, interviewers appreciate seeing a quick follow-up after the first phone or video meeting. As technology and internet access have become ubiquitous most managers now view the early follow-up as coming from someone with initiative instead of presumption.   

This preference change is primarily due to these three things:  

  1. Hiring managers’ contact information is readily available online or elsewhere in a way it wasn’t ten years ago. Many first interviews are conducted in Microsoft Teams or a similar video conferencing platform with the manager’s info right there on their window.  
  2. We live in an on-demand world. We want it all right now, and nobody wants to wait for anything.  
  3. A cultural shift has occurred in many companies as Gen X and Millennial hiring managers make up more and more of the population. Boomers were more resistant to early, direct contact, seeing it as stepping over the line.  

Ask your recruiter before sending anything to the prospective employer and keep them entirely in the loop. They are navigators, guiding a complex process.  

Bottom line? With your recruiter’s blessing, Google your interviewers and reach out with confidence because they appreciate it, but they also expect it. Also, check out our Art of the Follow-Up post for tips on the best way to write a follow-up email!