How to Follow Up After a Successful Job Interview
Follow Up—Don't Drop the Ball!
After you have done all the hard work of preparing a resume and cover letter, applying for a job, researching the company thoroughly, and completing a fantastic interview, don't just leave and hope your prospective employer calls you! Your interview is really not finished yet. You need to do some post-interview followup.
Just as a good golf swing has a good follow through, a good interview includes a good followup. Even if you don't want the job, follow up anyway in order to make a good impression and build business contacts for the future.
What Should I Do After The Interview? Tips and Suggestions
Here are several suggestions that you can use to help yourself have the best chance of winning a job after an interview. They have worked thousands of times for my clients. It's important to take interview followup very seriously as a strategic part of landing the job of your dreams.
Follow up after all interviews, even if they did not go as well as you expected, or you decided that you did not want the job. Interview followup will definitely place you ahead of other job candidates who interviewed for the same job, all other things being equal. Among equally-qualified candidates, the person hired will be the one who did the best and most sincere interview followup.
Follow up in a timely manner, but do not make yourself look or sound desperate for the job. If you seem desperate, then your potential new employer may develop the idea that you have poor planning skills and ran out of money, that there is a substantial reason that no one else has hired you, and/or that perhaps you were fired from your last job. Your new employer does not want employees who let things deteriorate to the point of desperation, whether it is as complex an issue as a bankruptcy or as simple an issue as running out of toilet paper for the company bathrooms and forgetting to order it.
At the end of your interview, ask the interviewer or panel of interviewers when they will make their decision and when you might expect a call for a second interview.
Write down the correct names and titles of every individual who interviewed you, in addition to the receptionist, personal assistant, or executive secretary who served you. Request their business cards or make notes of their information in a small notebook. Interviewers and even company presidents will ask the receptionist what he or she thought of you as a job candidate and as a person. Make a good impression on everyone there.
How to Get an Employer's Attention After your Interview
- Send a thank-you note to the receptionist of the company. Reception duties can be tedious and taxing, and a little appreciation is not only compassionate but also makes you a remembered job candidate who will receive better telephone followup service than average through this individual.
- Write thank-you notes short letters to each interviewer with whom you spoke within 24 hours of your interview. I mail these the same evening at my nearest post office branch, from which mail is collected beginning at 5:00 AM. Often, the notes are received the next day in my town. Individualize the notes. You may wish to send email thank yous as well, especially within IT firms where email is checked frequently. In 2011, I still send hard-copy thank yous because it shows class, appreciation, and good manners.
- Write thank-you notes after every interview, even if you do not want to job. This will help make you known in the business world and ensure a growing number of good business and personal contacts for you.
- Find out whether snail mail, email, or fax is the best way to get hold of the Interviewer(s). Ask the Receptionist. You can also ask this person for correct name spellings. Proofread your thank-you letters or cards before sending them and make 100% sure that there are no grammar or spelling errors.
- In your thank-you letters, write that you appreciate the company's interest in you and restate why you think you are the best candidate for the job.
- Call all your references and tell them they may be contacted. Ideally, you should talk to them before you apply for jobs and ask their permission to use their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Continue to search for jobs and go on interviews, even if a particular interview went so well that you think the company is definitely going to hire you. You do not know that for sure, and you do not want to lose momentum in the job market while you are waiting to hear back from a company that hired someone else.
- Even if you are hired by the company that you expect to hire you, you can use additional interviews to gather information and to make good business contacts for the long term. Further, if the job you receive does not work out, you will have ready contacts to help you secure your next one.
- Stay visible in your business by continuing to look for other job and career opportunities even after you have been hired. Stay informed about the job market and your industry because you will be able to use any information you gather to help yourself and others.
- Do additional interview followup after the thank-you letters or notes have been received. Allow 48–72 hours after mailing, then make a telephone call to the Interviewer and ask about the position. Restate your assets during your telephone calls.
- Be patient but persistent. The hiring process can seem like a long one. This is especially true of jobs in the educational system or those connected with the city, county, state, or federal governments. These entities, as well as the boards of directors of non-profit organizations and of some commercial enterprises, must vote on job candidates. If they have a meeting only once a month, then results are delayed.
- Follow up with the interviewer by telephone once a week during a long-term process. Continue followup efforts until the job is filled. If an employer tells you that it may take 30 to 60 days to fill a position, you can call once a week.
- Do not forget about the company if you do not receive a job offer or the job-offer package does not work out for you. Keep that firm and its staff as important business contacts.
- Small employers are as important as large corporations for business contacts. Add your Interviewer into your business circle on LinkedIn and ask them to keep you in their circle for future referrals.
- You can use job interviews to gain important information for your future about business trends, plans in the future for certain companies, etc.—not just for obtaining a new job.
Thank-You Cards and Letters
Use effective judgment in deciding to write letters, use email, or prepare handwritten thank-you cards for followup. It is always wise to send a handwritten message and then quickly follow it with one of the other methods of contact.
I always prepare word-processed thank-you letters for interviewers and handwritten notecards for receptionists. I find emails less satisfactory. In fact, after interviewing job candidates myself, I have found that these emails are usually poorly-worded, trite, slangy, and even flippant. A well-worded email thank you is acceptable if you send a handwritten or typed note also or if you interviewed with a highly IT-oriented company.
5 Tips for Thank-You letters
- Show good etiquette and good manners in using proper titles, punctuation, grammar, and spelling.
- Near the beginning, show verbal appreciation for the company's interest in you.
- Restate your interest in the job and the company without sounding desperate.
- Restate your qualifications for the position and add anything you forgot to mention in the interview.
- Enclose any information the interviewer asked you for, including references or other materials.
Example Post-Interview Thank You Letter
Date (May Day, Year)
City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number / Your Cell Number
Your Email Address
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
Thank you very much for providing time from your busy schedule to talk with me about the Sales Manager position at McDonald's Blinds and Shades. I truly appreciate your time and consideration in interviewing me and feel that I am a perfect fit for this position.
After speaking with you, I know that I will excel in the job duties in a way that will bring an increased customer base and increasing revenues to your company. In addition, my enthusiasm for the work and managing people will bring higher motivation levels and results overall to the sales team.
I am very interested in working for you and look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this position. Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information. My cell phone number is (xxx) xxx-xxxx and I carry it with me at all times.
Thank you again for your time and consideration.
Your Typed Name
Anything to Add?
Dear Readers—I appreciate each and every one of your comments. This article has had so many good posts that I've archived a few hundred. Keep asking questions, and I'll continue answering to the best of my knowledge and experience.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2007 Patty Inglish MS