How to Follow Up After an Interview

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Following up after an interview is an important part of the job search. This lesson will explain how to follow-up after an interview and will end with a short quiz to see what you have learned.

The Job Search

Do you have a job? If so, how did you get it? Perhaps you started by searching job openings and submitting applications. If you were lucky enough to get a call back, you probably had to interview for the position as the next step in the job search process.

Interviewing is a way for employers and applicants to meet and discuss job specifics and required skills or qualifications. Many people get so caught up in the actual interview that they don't even consider what should happen after the interview. This period is called the follow-up.

Follow-up should begin after the interview.
job interview

The Follow-Up

Earlier, you were asked about your own experience with searching for a job. Think again about this in terms of job interviews. What did you do after the interview? Did you wait and wonder if you got the position? Were you expecting the phone to ring with a you're hired message on the other end? This follow up period can be nerve wracking, but can also be your opportunity to make a positive impression and keep you in the minds of the hiring professionals.

Let's look more closely at follow-up options after an interview with the help of Jane. Jane has been searching for a job in sales. She just interviewed for her dream job and feels fairly confident. What should Jane do now?

The Handwritten Note or Letter

Jane is so excited about this new opportunity and a handwritten note is an excellent way for her to share this positivity with the person who just interviewed her. Personalized stationary looks professional and is very simple to create. If this is not an option, any professional looking note card will do.

Jane's handwritten note should be penned the day after the interview and should thank the interviewer for the meeting while stating why she is the best person for the job. This may seem arrogant, but the whole point of a job interview is to sell yourself to the company. Jane should also mention that she is looking forward to being a member of the team. Again, this shows the hiring professional that Jane is serious about and invested in the position.

What if Jane has really bad handwriting? The handwritten note should be fairly short and must be easy to read. If handwriting is an issue, a typed note is fine. However, all written communication should be hand signed. Now, Jane can simply drop her letter in the mail.

You may be wondering why we did not mention email or text message as a means of written communication. Yes, emails are quick and easy. However, they are a bit too informal for follow up. Remember, you want to show employers that you are the perfect person for the job. Taking a few minutes to write and mail a thank you note shows your professionalism.

The Phone Call

Jane's second method of follow-up will happen about three to five days after the interview. Jane should pick up the phone and call the person who interviewed her. There are a couple of important things to keep in mind with the follow-up phone call.

As the old adage goes, timing is everything. Jane should not call first thing in the morning nor during lunch hours. These times are bad because the person may be busy catching up or out of the office entirely. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are ideal times for a follow-up call.

Okay, so Jane is going to place her follow up call at 10:30 am. What should she say? Jane should begin with a professional greeting as she identifies herself. It is also a good idea to mention that she interviewed with him or her and wanted to touch base to see if there were any additional questions that she may be able to answer. Finally, Jane will want to thank the interviewer for his or her time and indicate that she will look forward to speaking again soon.

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