En español | Once the interview is over, there is still work to be done if you're seriously interested in getting that job. Following up with the employer after the interview is important for two reasons: to set you apart from other candidates and to show your interest in the role. Follow-up typically takes two forms: thank-you notes and any other follow-up you may need to do to land the job. Here's how to ace both.
How to write thank-you notes
While some may think thank-you notes are obsolete, new research finds that they actually matter more since the pandemic began. An October 2020 survey by TopResume found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of hiring managers agree that it's more important for candidates to send thank-you notes or emails now.
While it's best to send a hand-written note to each interviewer promptly, remote work may make that challenging. Alternatively, send a personalized email to each individual, says career coach Maria Reitan, founder of Jump Team Coaching. Be sure to send a separate note to each individual who participated in the interview either the same day or the next day, she advises. And make sure to make the most of the opportunity.
"Pluck something out about the conversation that really struck you and just thank them for an observation, or the question that they posed that you felt was really helpful to you,” she says. “And ask them if there's anything else that you could provide or if there's any outstanding questions.” Use this as an opportunity to further engage the interviewers and show your continued interest.
Other important ways you should follow up
Ideally, at the end of the interview, you had a conversation with someone from the interview about when you might expect to hear about the next steps and from whom. “At least you have some sense of the timeline,” says Jennifer Yeko, founder of recruitment firm Ninja Recruiting. If the team expects to fill the job in a week, you may want to follow up sooner than if they expect to take two months.
Your follow-up approach — by phone or email — may also depend on the type of job you're seeking. “It's part art and part science,” Yeko says. “If it's a sales job, you should probably be pretty aggressive because they expect you to be pretty aggressive when you're in sales. If it's another type of role, you may not want to be as aggressive,” she says.
Reitan agrees that you should take your lead from the team's timeline — and follow up with the point person, not the whole team. “Don't reach out prematurely because that's really annoying,” she says. “If someone has said ‘I'm going to follow up with you in the next 14 days,’ give them the 14 days."
This is also another opportunity to reengage your contact and remind the person why you're the best candidate for the job, Reitan says. If you feel like there was additional information that you wanted to share that didn't come across in the interview, briefly do so in the follow-up outreach by mail or phone. And if you've had relevant news since then, such as an industry award, honor or accomplishment that is appropriate to share, this is a good excuse to get in touch, too.
"There are two reasons for follow-up. One is to express interest, again, that you're actively interested in being considered for the position. And second, to use it as an opportunity to remind them why you're the best fit,” she says.
Gwen Moran is a writer and author specializing in business and finance. Her work has appeared in many leading business publications and websites, including Fast Company, Inc., and The Los Angeles Times Magazine.