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5 Guidelines for Effective Post-Interview Follow Up

Sending a well-crafted letter of appreciation after an interview is a terrific way to show a potential employer your gratitude, remind them of who you are, and stand out among the other applicants. But navigating the rules for sending a courteous and timely thank-you letter can be tricky. From a quick email to traditional handwritten notes, a simple thank-you never goes out of style. Here you’ll find the best tips for demonstrating your appreciation following an interview while making a positive, lasting impression of good taste and manners.


Always Send a Thank-You

Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the job market, it’s always appropriate to send a thank-you letter immediately after an interview. I advise my clients to send an email within 24 hours of an interview. If they don’t have the interviewer’s email address, I encourage them to send a thank-you note in the mail the same day. To ensure you have the right information for sending your gratitude, ask for your interviewer’s business card at the beginning of your interview as this will typically provide all of the contact information you’ll need to send your thanks.


Instantaneous Feedback

During your career hunt, it’s safe to assume every employer wants to fill vacant positions as fast as possible, which is why I highly recommend sending a quick email within 24 hours of your interview. It’s faster than traditional snail mail, which means you get to remind the interviewer of who you are and demonstrate your good manners and interest in the position at least one more time before they make a hiring decision—with instant feedback. Research shows recruiters and hiring managers typically make a hiring decision within 48 hours of their final interview, so time is of the essence.


A Personalized Note

While an email offers the efficiency of speed, following up with a traditional, handwritten letter of appreciation allows you to send a thanks with a personal touch you can’t provide in an email. Handwritten thank-you letters are especially important for candidates of slower-paced positions, in offices with a smaller staff, or for those looking at a job in a small town. But interviewers in larger organizations also appreciate traditional thank-you notes and letters. Remember, good manner never go out of fashion, and such thank-you letters stick with employers, setting you apart from the competition.


To underscore your interest in a position, follow up a thank-you email with a traditional thank-you note. This will put you at the forefront of the interviewer’s mind once more before a final decision is made about who to hire.


What to Write

This is often the toughest part for most candidates: They simply don’t know what to write. Regardless of how you send your thank-you, it should be specific to the interview you just had. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time, highlight your strengths that are imperative to the position, and reiterate how excited you are about the job. Recruiters report that a candidate’s enthusiasm about a position is a major factor in hiring decisions. A thank-you note is also a great place to mention anything you forgot to share during your interview and to remind them of the value you will offer the company if selected.


If any weaknesses as a candidate surfaced during your interview, address them in your thank-you letter by turning them into strengths. At the end of the interview, I recommend my clients ask the interviewer if they have any concerns about their candidacy or questions when it comes to considering them for the position. Again, the thank-you letter is a great place to address such concerns or questions after you have had time to contemplate a well-thought-out, appropriate response.


You may also include other items in your thank-you letter as well, such as a reminder of why you are a good culture fit for the company, as this is a major determining factor for hiring managers when filling positions. If you are no longer interested in a position after the interview, you should still send a thank-you note to show your appreciation for the interviewer’s time. This is important because you never know when you may bump into the interviewer again—and it paints you as a consummate professional.


Stand Out Among the Many

As a business owner, I can tell you that perhaps one of every 10 people I interview even bother to send a thank-you email—and thank-you letters are even more uncommon. Stand out among the many candidates for a position by following up with a thank-you. Consider it the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm, address doubts the interviewer may still have about you, and underscore your culture fit as these are all important determining factors when it comes to the final hiring decision.

Last Updated: May 24, 2017
About the author

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an executive resume writer, Reach Certified Social Branding Analyst and 10X award-winning executive resume writer. She was recently named 2016’s Best Resume Writer. You can find her at GreatResumesFast.com.