An oft-forgotten element of a successful career transition is an effective interview follow-up. A little bit of gratitude and politeness goes a long way: when it is time to make a decision and there are several qualified candidates from which to choose, a follow up can be what tips the scales in your favor. With that in mind, here are a few tips:
Be specific. A successful follow-up note has to contain more than “thank you for your time.” This is an opportunity to further exhibit the strength of your candidacy. Use your follow up to demonstrate that you understand the challenges the company faces, and reiterate how you can be a solution. Your note should be thoughtful, mention that you remain enthusiastic about the position, and, finally, outline why you are the best person for the job. Keep in mind that the note should build upon what was discussed during the interview, not repeat the content of your resume one more time.
Be conversational. This is a follow-up note to someone you have met. This is not the time to break out the official language you used in school when you learned to write a business letter. Keep your tone light but professional. Also, keep it upbeat and short. One well-written paragraph is fine.
Choose email. Think you need to deliver a handwritten note for your follow up to stand out? Think again: In today’s fast-paced business environment, an email is the best option for post-interview follow up. The company may be making a decision quickly, and an email is the best way to ensure those decision-makers have your follow-up note in hand. After you send your email follow-up note, you may want to also consider a handwritten note. The extra effort, though by no means required, may be appreciated.
Thank everyone. Send a personal follow up to everyone you met with during the interview process. Do not send one email to everyone, as this sends an underlying message that you don’t consider their time worth your effort to follow up individually. Instead, write a thoughtful and personal note to each person, making sure to touch upon topics discussed during each particular conversation.
Be persistent, but not annoying. Never reach out more than twice. Hopefully you asked about next steps during the interview and when a decision would be made. It’s fine to send a note asking about the job status if that date has passed. Again, be brief. Just a couple of sentences here are fine. Say hello, and then inquire about the job. If you don’t get a response after that, let it go. To you, another inquiry would be a sign of persistence, which is a desirable quality in a candidate. But to the undoubtedly busy hiring manager, it can send the message that you are do not value his or her time and consider yourself more important than their other tasks. So put yourself in his or her shoes and ask yourself how you would want to be approached.