The job interview isn’t over when you walk out of the interviewer’s office. The next step is following up. Just like the resume and cover letter that got you this far, the follow-up letter is another opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates. The interviewer is not only evaluating your interview skills, he or she is watching as you walk through the door, observing how you greet the receptionist and critiquing your follow up strategy. These commonly asked questions about a post-interview follow-up letter will help you take advantage of this final opportunity to show why you are the best candidate for the job.
1. How soon after the interview should I send the note?
Immediately. While you’re waiting, someone else is interviewing for the prized position. Don’t delay. After you get home, kick off your heels, and peel off your suit jacket, sit down and start writing. Not only is it proper business etiquette, but it helps keep you top of mind and gives you another chance to make the case as to why you are the best candidate for the job. Make sure you get the interviewer’s business card so you have the correct spelling of his or her name, email address and office mailing address or other contact information. If you don’t want to ask the interviewer, ask the front desk receptionist when you arrive for the interview. If all else fails, call and ask for the information, explaining your purpose so you do not come across as a stalker.
2. Do I send an email or mail a handwritten thank you?
Both. Time is often of the essence, so start by sending a thank-you email the same day as your interview. Keep your email strictly professional, structured with a proper greeting, a body making your points and a closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best Regards,” followed by your name and contact info. Thank the interviewer for his or her time and convey enthusiasm for the interview experience and the position you hope to get. The email should reiterate your interest in the job. You can also briefly highlight any information that shows you’re a good fit: “My experience in sales is an asset for this position…” Next, get a handwritten letter into the mail thanking the interviewer for his or her time and reiterating your interest in the position. In both pieces of correspondence, share that you’re available to answer any additional questions that may come up during the hiring process. Also in both, be sure to triple-check spelling, punctuation and grammar. Just as in the face-to-face interview, put your best foot forward.
3. Should I call the interviewer? If so, how soon?
Before you leave the interview, ask the interviewer when he or she will make a final decision. Use this as your guide to help you time a phone call so that you still make your call before a decision has been made. If you don’t have a specific time frame, wait three to five business days after your initial interview before placing a phone call to the interviewer. Use this as another opportunity to reinforce your continued interest in the position. If you get their voicemail, leave your name, phone number and a brief message. Don’t ramble or leave a long-winded, five-minute message.
4. I did not do well in the interview. Is it worth it to follow up?
Absolutely. A good follow-up may not completely compensate for a less-than-great interview, but it will show that you are someone who has initiative and perseverance. You never know when their first choice (the one who aced the interview!) suddenly becomes a disappointment, or turns down the job at the last minute. The interviewer will remember that you were bright, driven and deserve a second look.
5. What do I do if I don’t get the job?
Don’t get emotional, even if you are very disappointed. Thank the interviewer for letting you know. Don’t burn bridges and continue to stay visible. You’ll see these same people at networking events, fundraisers or industry gatherings and you want to be able to shine for the next opportunity. It’s always a plus to be on someone’s radar when another opening becomes available.
Though the follow-up has evolved with changes in technology, the thought is still the same: Be professional, prompt and confident in your ability to fill the position.