So I wrote this note & sent it to 5 pros in the journalism/writing biz—-an editor for The Atlantic, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism/writer for The New York Times Magazine, a writer for National Geographic, a screenwriter/copy writer, and a former editor for The Los Angeles Times.
Their responses were as follows:
*** FROM THE EDITOR AT THE ATLANTIC ***
I wouldn’t sweat it much. Hiring is a very strange process. Sometimes it moves really quickly. Other time it does not. Things stall out. People get held up. They forget, then they remember, then they forget again.
A ploy—not unlike the college leave-behind—would be to do something that bolsters your candidacy, THEN send that over to the lower ranking editor as a way of touching base without being annoying.
Or maybe just make conversation with one of them on Twitter not even about the job. Just the sight of your avatar will remind me that they need to make a decision and tell you about it.
*** FROM THE FORMER LA TIMES EDITOR/REPORTER ***
How’d they leave it when the interviews ended? Did they say they’d get back to you? What’s their time frame on filling the job? Were they in a hurry? How many other applicants were there? Did you get a sense a lot or very few? How’d the interviews go?
In general I’d give it maybe another week and then PHONE the assistant editor. If they haven’t filled the job yet, emphasize how much you’d look forward to working there. Don’t sound desperate, though. Enthusiastic yes, desperate no. If they have filled the job, don’t just hang up, ask questions. Treat it as a learning experience (that goes for all job interviews.) Was there something in your clips or experience that might be lacking? Be interested but not confrontational or defensive. If there is a next time, you want to be the first person they think of. Hopefully, there won’t have to be a next time — you’ll get the job. But try not to depend so much on hope.
***FROM THE SCREENWRITER / COPYWRITER***
I think since it’s been two weeks that you can follow up. Big kudos for thank you notes – that’s my number one piece of advice (though I would recommend hand-written).
You may want to wait until Thursday, though. If it’s a big sought after position, they probably have tons of applicants so it could take awhile.
I would write something like this:
“”Dear so and so,
I just wanted to thank you again for taking the time to interview with me. I really feel that I’m a perfect fit for the position and I just wanted to follow up to see if you had made a decision. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can send you in regards to samples or to demonstrate my willingness to excel in the position.”
*** FROM THE JOURNALISM PROFESSOR ***
At this stage, I’d wait. Hiring takes time (often a lot of time), so unless you have another offer that you need to say yes or no to, I’d just be patient – or just politely write to express your continued interest (rather than asking where the process is at). Either way is fine.
*** FROM THE NAT. GEO. WRITER ***
I’d wait a little longer, then contact the assistant editor again. EICs, as you know, are crazy busy. If she didn’t reply the first time, best not to “pester” her.
*** CONCLUSION ***
I GUESS I’LL JUST WAIT. AND PRAY.