The Art of the Interview Follow-Up

by Rachel Vilsack

Many years ago as a first-time job seeker, I applied online for a position with a major employer. I was contacted for a pre-screening telephone interview. I must have passed because the following week I was set up with another telephone interview with a supervisor, and the week after that I had another telephone interview with a department manager. After all this effort – expended on my behalf practicing interview questions and forming questions to ask in return – I didn’t get the job. In fact, I never heard back from the employer. My error: I didn’t follow up.


Follow-Up Do’s

Job seekers know why it is important to follow-up after the interview. Here are some tips for how to effectively follow-up:


  • Address your follow-up to the person with whom you interviewed. Use their name, not their title. If you interview with more than one person, send a separate, personal follow-up to each. (Or do both, as this article suggests. Send a thank you note by mail immediately and follow-up later with a short email.)
  • Make sure your follow-up is polished, with no grammar or spelling errors. This is common sense, I know. But coming from someone who has an often-misspelled last name, please take the extra time to make sure your thank you is error free.
  • Reinforce that you want the job. The interview was your sales pitch. Go for the close by asking for the job.
  • According to one resume expert, this is the most important line to include in your follow-up: “Please let me know either way.”


A Word from Behind the Hiring Desk

I asked some colleagues who’ve been directly involved in the interview and hiring process what they thought about interview follow-up. Does it really matter?


 “Yes. But it doesn’t matter if it’s a hand-written thank you note or an email. Any follow-up is fine with me; it’s an acknowledgement that we had some sort of interaction, and that you really want the job.”


“Make sure that whatever you send is professional. And, honestly, make sure it’s appropriate – to your personality or the industry in which you are applying.”


Out of context, an elaborate card, gift, or invitation to connect on Facebook (before the final decision has been made) may not be appropriate. The key here is don’t overthink how to follow-up; just do it!



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