How to Follow-Up After an Interview

Its summer internship and job interview season, and while a job interview is obviously important, the follow-up is almost equally important. You need to show your thanks, stick in their memory and stand out! But how do you follow up without sounding desperate or seeming like a pest?

Timing

Following up too soon makes it look like you had your follow-up statement planned far in advance (which you probably did, but you don't want that to be obvious). On the other hand, if you wait too long, you'll risk them forgetting about your or putting another candidate ahead of you. In general, your thank you should be there within 24 hours. If your interview was in the morning, follow up in the afternoon, perhaps around 4. If your interview was in the afternoon, follow up first thing in the morning. Sending an email at 8am is a good way to ensure you're at the top of their inbox when they first login around 8:30 or 9! If you are doing a hand-written letter, consider writing them in the lobby and handing them to a secretary right after the interview, or mailing it right after the interview so it gets there in about 2 days. That takes me to my next point..

Letter or Email?

An email works just fine, especially since that's the main form of communication most offices use. However, hand-written letters can help you stand out and show a certain level of gratitude. They take more time and effort than an email. In the past, I have done a thank-you email and a hand-written letter, but some employers might think that is extra. If you know that it is a big company and there will be a receptionist at their front door, you can prepare hand written notes before hand (fill in the dear section, add a generic thank you line) and add in details following the interview, and hand them to the receptionist. That way, there's no post office lagtime. If you're not sure, or it's a small business or nonprofit, an email should work well. If you met with several people, sending thank you cards and an email should be okay. If you do a letter, use appropriate stationary (not notebook paper), write in pen, and be NEAT!

Business Cards

Be sure to ask for everyone's business cards so you have their contact information! Even if it's just a secretary showing you around the office, this is someone taking time out of their normal duties to help you. Everyone deserves a thank you!

What do I say?

There are a lot of helpful generic templates online, but you should also add a personal touch. Did a common interest come up in the interview? Did something they mentioned about the company or position strike your interest? Include that! Always start with Dear _, add a line of thanks ("Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with me yesterday"), say what you appreciated about the interview ("I enjoyed learning... about the company, and thank you for answering my question about...."), tell them you are excited about this opportunity and look forward to hearing from them soon. You can also add a part reminding them of your qualifications without sounding too pushy. For example, you could say, "The job duties we talked about remind me of the role I had at (company name), where I also (similar task/skill)". For example, if you're applying for a public relations internship, and one of your duties is posting to the company Instagram, you might say, "The job duties we discussed remind me of my role on Saint Mary's Dance Marathon, where I was on the public relations committee and frequently updated the organization's social media pages." Don't lie, but don't be afraid to humble brag! After interviewing several candidates, they can all start to blend together, so reminding them of who you are and what your qualifications are could be helpful for standing out from the pack.

Should I Follow-Up Again?

After every interview, you should always ask for a decision timeline and when you can expect to hear back from them. If more than 2 business days (so not weekend days or holidays) have passed since the date they said you'd hear back by, it is appropriate to send an email asking if they have made any progress in their candidate search.

Good luck interviewing, belles!