“I finished school earlier this year and am applying for jobs in full force this summer. My mom says that I should send a card in the mail after each interview, but a friend in the business says email follow-ups are fine. What do you think?” – Roger from Dallas, TX
It’s great that you’re already thinking about how to follow up with interviewers – a step some candidates miss. Sending a thank-you message after an interview is important because it helps keep you fresh in the hiring manager’s mind and demonstrates that you understand good business etiquette.
When to send an email
First, know that you can’t go wrong with sending an email – particularly if you’ve been using that method to correspond with your interviewer prior to your meeting. Sending an email allows you to follow up quickly and reiterate your interest in the position, while also providing additional materials (such as writing samples) requested during the interview.
Using email is especially important if you know the company is looking to hire someone quickly. By the time a handwritten note arrives via traditional mail, they may have already made their decision. Additionally, remember that some people don’t check their office mail regularly, or may be out of the office on business or vacation travel where they don’t have access to incoming mail.
When to send a handwritten note
A handwritten note or card can help you stand out from the crowd and is appropriate when you know the employer doesn’t intend to make a hiring decision in the days immediately following the interview. This type of communication may also be more appropriate if you’re applying to work at a very formal company or for a high-ranking position.
If you go this route, aim to send it out the same day you interview to ensure it arrives in a timely fashion. Find a quiet spot immediately following your meeting while the details are still fresh in your mind to write the note and drop it in the nearest mailbox.
What to include in your message
No matter which format you choose, start off the message by thanking the interviewer again for his or her time and for giving you the opportunity to come in.
Next you want to express your excitement and interest in the company, incorporating details that you heard in the interview. For example, if the hiring manager told you that the team you’d be working with is highly collaborative, you can say something like “I was excited to hear this team enjoys collaboration, since I value working in an environment where colleagues can share ideas and solicit feedback on a regular basis.”
Finally, reiterate why your skills and experience are a good fit for the position. You can reference what you heard in the interview as well as what’s in the job description. For instance, if you know they want to bring someone on to bring consistency and strategy to their social media networks, the follow-up message is a good time to remind them of your experience in doing just that.