Post Interview Etiquette & Thank You Emails

Written by daryn edelman
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Post Interview Etiquette & Thank You Emails
What you do after the interview can be just as important as during. (la rencounter image by Yves Damin from Fotolia.com)

Your post interview etiquette can mean the difference between landing the job and continuing your job search. Many people interview and move on to looking for other opportunities. It is likely if you put the interviewer out of your mind, she will do the same with you. A "thank you" never hurt anyone, and there are millions of examples of when it helped someone. Better to play it safe and be polite.

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Follow Up

While detailed post interview etiquette may be debated by career experts, most would suggest waiting a few days and sending a polite e-mail, call or letter, simply reminding the interviewer of your interest in the position, eagerness to hear a response and ability to provide references or any information the interviewer may need.

Use Online Resources

Websites such as getinterviews.com and others offer a paid service where they will write a post interview follow-up or e-mail for you, reminding the employer of your key accomplishments and why you are the top candidate for the position.

Enthusiasm May Beat Experience

Any job that deals with people, such as sales, human resources, teaching and counselling requires higher-than-average social skills. It is very likely that the employer interviewed many candidates, and is waiting to see who has the relationship-building skills to call back or send a follow-up e-mail. Put yourself in the employer's place. Even someone who may have some better items on their resume could be trumped by a candidate who is more enthusiastic and willing to put more into securing the position.

Clarify What You Should Do

It is always a good idea to get clarification before something happens. You must find out if you will be asked for approval to do a background check, will be called back for a test, or if your resume will go to someone else and there is no reason to contact this initial gatekeeper anymore. At the end of the interview, ask questions to be clear on what the next stage is. If the employer is very firm not to call back, a brief e-mail may be the most you can do without showing that you aren't listening to a potential new boss.

Try to Call Or Email

If there is a non-specific answer such as, "I'll get back to you." or "You'll hear from me this week," you may want to clarify if it is OK for you to call him by a certain day if you haven't heard from him. It is possible that the employer is overly busy with his daily work plus interviewing and would actually greatly appreciate you getting back to him, rather than he needing to call you.

E-mail Or Letter

You may wonder what is the best format to get back to the employer after the interview. Calls are more personal, letters more official and e-mails allow you to carefully plot your reply. If the employer picks up your call and throws you an odd question, your answer may not be as optimal as possible. It is difficult for some people to verbally be told that they were rejected for a position. They may become angry or tense and not think clearly. A thank you e-mail will many times get an e-mail response. You now have time to craft a well-worded answer. While rejection is always difficult, it may be easier to handle if you are just reading an e-mail rather than having the employer on the phone rejecting you for the position.

Ambitious Or Bothersome?

There may be a fine line between appearing ambitious or bothersome. A technique used by sales people to call prospects back and not to seem that they are bothering them is to include new information in the second letter or call. For example, you may have mentioned during the interview that you are able to start working in a week. If you choose to call back in a few (at least three) days or send an e-mail, you can mention that you were able to resolve your relocation issues and are available to start immediately. Aside from mentioning the new facts, re-emphasize any main points covered during the interview, remind the interviewer of some of your skills, background and your interest in the job.

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