How to Follow Up an Interview & Check Progress

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Some job descriptions request that applicants not call or email about an open position. However, after you successfully land an interview, the rules change as to whether you can contact the hiring manager. Following an interview, it is customary to send a short thank-you note to the hiring manager or interviewer. A casual mention of progress is not problematic as long as your request for information is tactful. Follow-up letters or notices can be sent electronically or by mail. If there was more than one person in your interview, create a separate note for each person.

Select a thank-you note card that is blank on the inside if you plan to send a handwritten note. Send a card in the same color as your résumé, ensuring there is ample space inside for a brief paragraph. If you have large handwriting, choose a larger card rather than attempting to cram all information into a small space. Neatness is important, as your thank-you letter is your final chance to make a good impression on the employer. If your handwriting is poor and illegible, opt to send an email or letter instead.

Open your word processor to begin your letter. Even if you plan to send your thank you note electronically, it is beneficial to use a word processor, because it gives you access to spelling and grammar tools. If you are handwriting the letter, use the typed information as a reference or script for your card.

Begin your thank note with the words “Thank you.” It is not necessary to try and be clever or open with a joke. Keep your letter direct and to the point. Follow your opening sentence with highlights about the position that match your strengths, even if you interviewed poorly. Discuss what you learned about the company culture from your interaction with the interviewers, if applicable. Making personal connections is an appropriate way to make your letter stand out.

Send your letter within two to three business days. Some career coaches advise applicants to mail the thank-you letter as early as the day after you interview. The key is to make contact when the interview is fresh on the employer’s mind.

Tip

When sending a thank you letter to multiple people, think of ways to personalize each message based on your interaction during the interview. If the person did not speak, research her job title instead to find talking points for your letter.

Warning

Avoid long letters may be pushed to the side if the hiring manager or managers are busy.

References

About the Author

Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.