How to Follow-Up After the Interview
When the interview ends, there is still more to do in order to clinch the deal. So, let’s walk through the process of how you can end your interview and follow-up to make the most positive impression.
As the Interview Ends…
As your interview is ending, be sure to:
- Thank the interviewer
- State your interest in the position and company
- Ask what happens next and when it should happen
- The best timing and method for follow up
Ask for a business card from everyone you have interviewed with so you have the correct title and contact information for each.
This will give you an idea of time frames, hesitations or concerns you might need to address, and what you can expect in the waiting game.
Before You Even Get Home…
As soon as you get to your car or away from the employer's location, jot down everything you can remember from each interview – what they particularly liked / responded positively to, any concerns that were expressed or sensed, and/or areas you might want to research or stress from the discussion.
This is especially crucial if you met with more than one interviewer. You need to remember what each individual focused on (important for making thank you letters unique).
Writing the Thank You / Follow-Up Letter(s)…
Now, when you get home, dig in and write your thank you / follow-up letter or letters, depending on how many interviewers were involved.
Yes, you need to write different letters that reflect the different discussions.
Remember, you never know who really holds the influence on the hiring process! Thank everyone who interviewed you.
Don’t just think you know who is most important and only write to them; you could do yourself damage that way.
Yes, Writing the Letter(s)…
Of course, a lot of job seekers think that writing this letter is stupid. I don’t know why! Let’s look at the value of this letter:
- Shows courtesy toward the interviewer for their time.
- Conveys interest in the position.
- Provides you an opportunity to get back in front of the employer again, in case you have faded from the memory of an employer who met too many people too quickly.
- Allows you to introduce information that you neglected in the interview or didn’t do a great job introducing.
A thank you / follow-up letter can make all the difference in the world! But, you’ve got to get it written ASAP. You shouldn’t really wait more than 24-48 hours, especially if they are making a quick decision. You might even hand deliver it. However, some no-no’s include:
- Sending generic or canned thank you letters.
- Faxing or e-mailing thank you letters. Of course, if all communication has been by e-mail and the employer will be traveling…the rules change.
- I know you won’t do this one: handing a sealed thank you letter to the employer at the end of the interview!
- Forgetting to sign the letter!
A strong letter will address the issues of the interview. It should:
- Highlight what the employer liked about you.
- Cover positive information you wish you had said in the interview.
- Express your skill in areas that the employer showed concern over.
- Make a positive impact.
Optional: It’s always a great idea if you can add further value to the employer by enclosing something like a newspaper clipping or article relevant to the employer’s personal or professional interests, or those of the company/department.
In fact, sometimes there is room for creativity in the process:
- A desktop publisher might “design” a flyer selling graphic skills while marketing personal strengths for the job.
- A marketing person might write a mock press release for getting the job or develop a marketing plan for an idea they have for the company.
- A web designer might develop a CD letter or a Videographer might create a video letter. Of course, include a text letter just to be safe…
- A shoe salesman might send a shoe with a letter in it that starts out, "Now that I’ve gotten my foot in the door..."
- A chef might bake something exquisite, and send it with a letter that says, "Now that I’ve shown that I can put all the right ingredients together…"
If you opt for something clever, make sure that it is suitable and relevant, not just a neat idea.
Next Step in Your Follow Up…
Once you’ve written and sent or delivered your letter(s), you begin the waiting process. Hopefully, you asked if you could follow-up.
Don’t get discouraged if the employer doesn’t get right back to you. If you expected to hear from them by the end of the week, call the following Tuesday.
Don’t expect to get to talk to the interviewer. Leave a courteous message stating that you are following up.
If you don’t hear back, don’t give up. They might be busy; this might be a test… you never know. Wait two days, and call again.
I personally suggest ten "courteous" calls before accepting that you won’t get a response. Chalk it up to bad manners or spinelessness on the interviewer’s part.
If the employer is courteous enough to contact you or answer your calls, but does not wish to continue considering you for the position, try to ask them if they felt there was any information you might have shared to stay under consideration. "Perhaps there is something else you would like to know that could put me back in the running?" Don’t just walk away with your tail between your legs. Instead, make the effort to convince the employer of your worth.
You might also thank the employer for their consideration, and ask if they have any advice for you in future interviews. Ask them if they can point out anything you might do differently to increase your interview success. Send a thank you note for their consideration.
Don’t Give Up…
Follow-up again! That’s right, again. Just because you didn’t get the job doesn’t mean that another opportunity might not open up or that the person who was hired may not work out. In fact, it is not uncommon for an employer to almost promise you the job, never get back to you, and several weeks later contact you.
You just never know what a little extra effort in follow-up can do!
© Copyright Laura DeCarlo 2011. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
About this author: Laura DeCarlo is recognized as the career industry’s "career hero" making a difference to both job seekers and career professionals as the founder of Career Directors International. She possesses 11 top-level certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and career management; 7 first place resume and job placement awards; and has written three books on interviewing and job search including Interview Pocket RX, Interviewing: The Gold Standard, and Job Search Bloopers. Follow Laura on Twitter; username: @careerhero.