Best Ways to Follow Up After an Interview

It's said that money can't buy you manners - but we're here to show you that manners can buy you money - because good ones make all the difference when applying for a job! Learn how to put yourself ahead of other candidates and impress a potential employer with our quick and easy guide to the dark art of interview follow-up!

Don't forget to say thank you!

Ever been waiting in line somewhere and noticed the person in front fail to thank whoever served them? What did you think of that person? Rude? Arrogant? Exactly! This is why the golden rule of interview follow-up is to always, always send a thank you to a potential employer after you have met them for the first time. There are very few people out there who don't appreciate this, and some recruiters will even specifically look for it when selecting the successful candidate! 

On top of this, employers are human beings just like you - and have been known to misplace or misspell contact details! Contacting them first ensures that they can get hold of you if they need to. Below, we look at a few different ways to send a thank you to a recruiter - as well as the pros and cons of each.

Feel free to ask whether a decision has been made, but do so in the right way

As long as your interviewer didn't specifically ask you not to, you should feel free to ask how a decision is coming along if they don't get back to you within the allocated time period. Interviewer didn't allocate a time period? No problem! Simply inquire about it during the inevitable 'any questions' portion of the interview at the end (you know; that bit where your mind usually goes completely blank and you forget everything you prepared earlier!). 

The big thing to accept here is that the employer may never end up getting back to you if you haven't been successful in your application. Whilst this isn't generally considered best practice, many people do have a hard time giving bad news, and/or are unwilling to take time out of their working day to do so. Always be polite and respectful when communicating with employers, and remember that even if you weren't successful on this first attempt, there may still be a next time, so don't burn any bridges! 

One thing you should never do is telephone or try to meet a prospective employer face to face to ask if you were successful or not. This puts them in an unfair position that may make them feel uncomfortable, so you're really best sticking to good old email in this instance.

How soon to thank an interviewer and how to do it

So; thanking an interviewer for their time is kind of a no-brainer, but how and when you should send your message is a slightly trickier proposition. The easiest and most obvious way you can send a message of thanks to your potential new boss is of course the humble email - which is great because it creates a minimum level of hassle for everyone concerned. 

What email has in speed and convenience, it kind of lacks in personality and charm though - and there will be situations where you ask yourself if you want to be just another number in someone's inbox. You need to consider the type of company you're applying for here; as well as the type of people who were present at your interview. 

If, for instance, you're applying for a role in the fast-moving world of e-commerce, then it may be that email is the most suitable way to get your point across. But for a more traditional job role, it could be nice to send a brief hand-written note expressing your thanks. A hand-written note has real weight, and lacks the ephemeral nature of email (as it's hopefully not going to go straight in the bin!). You do have to balance this against the problem of speed, but it may well be worth considering purchasing that book of (first-class!) stamps and giving snail mail a try.   

A further option comes when you consider using social media to follow up on a job interview. Sending a LinkedIn invite with a thank you note included can help to build your personal network and thank an interviewer in just a single stroke. It's probably best to stay away from Facebook and Twitter at this point, as it's easy to come across as too eager - or even worse, creepy! Again, consider the company and people you are dealing with, and treat the situation accordingly. 

When to send your message is a much more personal decision than how to send it, but the general rule of thumb is 'not too fast and not too slow'. Don't fire off an email before you've even left the building your interview was held in, because it's kind of pointless and you'll look way too eager - but equally we wouldn't usually recommend waiting any longer than 24 hours to get your message sent (especially in the case of a hand-written note). 

So what should I say in a thank you note?

Well the most important thing is a two-syllable phrase that's included in the name! Joking aside though, there's a whole lot more you can do with a thank you note than just say 'thank you'. 

The key thing is to be natural. Don't force a conversation that isn't there, but do perhaps comment on what you liked about the company, reiterate why you (presumably) think you'd be a good fit there, and ask any questions that have occurred to you since the interview took place. As always when corresponding with a potential employer, it's best to tailor your thank you note to suit whomever you're writing to. 

All in all, interview follow-up techniques aren't going to get you a job on their own, but they can certainly help as part of a well-balanced approach. If you find that you're still having problems, check out our guide on why you might not be getting hired

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