Interview Follow Up Etiquette [+Plus Sample "Thank you" Letter]

After an interview are you supposed to hand write a "Thank you" letter, send an email, leave a voicemail, cross your fingers and hope for a second interview? What IS the proper interview follow-up etiquette these days? And do you wait an hour, a day, a week or more?! So many questions and so many possible answers.

We're here to give you a definitive answer to all of your interview follow-up questions once and for all. You can finally breathe easy. 

Don't forget to download your Job Interview Prep Kit to help in preparing for a job interview.

What type of follow up do I send?

An email is sufficient these days. While a hand written note can still go a long way, sending it via snail mail will take too long to make the desired impression and delivering it in person can feel very intrusive. Stick to email.

When do I send a "Thank You" letter after an interview?

24-48 hours after your interview. The only exception to this is if you interview on a Friday or the day before a holiday, in which case you should send your emails first thing Monday morning.

To whom do I send a "Thank You" letter after an interview?

Send an individual email to each person you spoke to or met with. Don't lump everyone together into a single email; it's lazy and informal. 

What if I don't have every person I spoke to's email address?

Ask for it. The ideal scenario is to ask for a business card at the end of each in-person meeting. If you're chatting over the phone, simply ask for the best email address to reach the person.

In some instances, the hiring manager will decline to provide their email address. They may tell you that communicating with HR is your best or only option. In this scenario, don't press. Email your point of contact and include a message for the person you spoke with. A simple "I would appreciate if you could please pass this message on to ____," is perfectly acceptable. 

What if the interview is already over and you forgot to ask? No problem. You can still reach out to your contact and request the manager's email address. Email your contact with, "I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with ____ and got so wrapped up in our discussion that it slipped my mind to ask for a business card. Do you have an email address for ___ so I can properly thank them for our meeting?" 

What do I say in an interview "Thank You" letter?

Because every follow-up letter should be personalized, a one-size fits all 'thank you' simply isn't going to work. Every "Thank You" letter should include: 

  • The date of your interview
  • A reference to something you said
  • A reference to your connection with the interviewer
  • A recap of why you'd be a good fit for the position
  • The exact question: "What are the next steps for you to fill the opening of ____?" 

How long do I wait before "checking in?"

After you send your interview "Thank You" letter, one of two things will happen: the individual will reply to the email or they won't. 

By asking the question defined above, it encourages a response from them along with a few details about timelines and next steps. If they reply, you'll want to use the information they provide to determine if and when it is appropriate to check in.

Perhaps they say, "We are interviewing another individual early next week and plan to make a final decision shortly thereafter. We will be in touch should we decide to move forward." This means you need to wait at least 2 weeks before touching base, or you could be seen as an annoyance. 

If no one replies to your emails at all, wait a week to send a "Checking In" email to your HR contact. Don't be pushy or presumptuous, just reiterate your excitement for the opening and ask about the decision-making timeline. You can also follow this email up with a phone call if you're feeling confident. 

Interview follow up etiquette is actually quite simple: Send a personalized email to each person you spoke with 24-48 hours after your interview; check in once a week later, at the earliest; and relax. If you prepare for your job interview beforehand and follow up respectfully afterward, the job will surely be yours. 

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