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Career Services - Students

Interview Follow-Up/Thank You Letters

Interviews are not over when they're over: Follow up.

Page Index:

Reason to Follow-Up

Following an interview, promptly (within 2 business days) write the interviewer a letter expressing appreciation and thanks for the interview. The purpose of this letter is to:

  • Show appreciation for the employer's interest in you.
  • Reiterate your interest in the position and in the organization.
  • Review or remind the employer about your qualifications for the position. If you thought of something you forgot to mention in the interview, mention it in your follow-up / thank-you letter.
  • Demonstrate that you have good manners and know to write a thank-you letter.
  • Follow up with any information the employer may have asked you to provide after the interview.
  • See samples below:

Sample 1: Thank-you for initial interview
Sample 2: Thank-you for on-site interview


Hard copy, handwritten or email?

  • Thank-you letters can be hard copy typed, handwritten or e-mailed. Hard copy are most formal and are appropriate after an interview. Handwritten are more personal, and can be appropriate for brief notes to a variety of individuals you may have met during on on-site interview. E-mail is appropriate when that has been your means of contact with the person you want to thank, or if your contact has expressed a preference for e-mail. (Also see guidelines for using e-mail in your job search and e-mail business etiquette.)

What to do if you don't hear from the employer

  • Before your interview ended, your interviewer should have informed you of the organization's follow-up procedures ó from whom, by what means, and when you would hear again from the organization. If the interviewer did not tell you, and you did not ask, use your follow-up / thank-you letter to ask.
  • If more than a week has passed beyond the date when you were told you would hear something from the employer, call or email to politely inquire about the status of the organization's decision-making process. Someone (or something) or an unexpected circumstance may be holding up the process. A polite inquiry shows that you are still interested in the organization and may prompt the employer to get on schedule with a response. In your inquiry, mention the following: name of the person who interviewed you, time and place of the interview, position for which you are applying (if known), and ask the status of your application.
  • From the 2008 Salisbury University Employer Survey, see the responses below as they relate to this issue:

Question: If a student has not heard from an employer concerning his/her application, when is it ok for them to follow up with an email or phone call? ( 92 responses)

A. 1 week - 39 employers/ 42.4%
B. 10 Days - 18 employers/ 19.6%
C. 2 Weeks - 21 employers/ 22.8%
D. 3 Weeks - 8 employers/ 8.6%
E. Do not bother the employer - 6 employers 6.55


Comments/Quotes from Employers:

  • 1 email or phone call then let it drop.
  • 30 days
  • After the closing date applications are rated and applicants are advised whether or not they meet the minimum qualifications. If they don't, they are given the opportunity to submit additional information.
  • Also, one day for interview as thank you follow up
  • Although I believe you can follow up within three days, just to show you are interested, as long as it is done in a none-pushy manner too.
  • Applicants are provided very detailed information in their application for Federal Government positions, including information about whether or not they qualify for the position. Once the applicant has completed the application process and made it through the interview, they should send and email thanking the interviewer for the meeting. A follow-up email or call in 2 weeks to ascertain the outcome of the interview is appropriate. Private industry norms are different.
  • Employers will normally reach out to the people they consider prospects...
  • Give the employer time but also show that you are interested. No follow up can sometimes show disinterest.
  • It also depends on the position. With a more specialized position where I only get a few resumes it is more acceptable to contact me. For positions that are more general or common I probably get 50 or more resumes and do not always have the time to see whose has applied or whether I have received their resume or not. Even when I have the time to check it is tedious.
  • One week after deadline or within 10 days
  • The way to contact the employer is through a network contact. Find someone who knows someone that can assist.
  • Unless the employer specifies when they will make their decision.
  • Usually, they will only call when interested. Many have a no call policy.
  • With the magnitude of resumes coming through the door, at times it can take a while to review a resume

Additional Information:


It is perfectly appropriate to follow up with the interviewer after a short period of time to determine the status of the position and your candidacy.
One of your final questions at the end of your interview might be, "When may I expect to hear from you? May I check back with you in two weeks?" Enter the date in your calendar and follow up as promised.

Prompt, polite follow-up is an indicator of good business etiquette and will help to set you apart from candidates who do not follow up. Be sure you do all you can and all you've promised to cement yourself and your candidacy with potential employers.


Sample Thank You Letters

Below are examples of thank you letters you can use.  Simply change the information to your needs.  Make sure you have the person's names listed (should get that at the end of the interview via a business card) and al names spelled correctly.


Initial Interview Thank You Letter

400C Hunter Ridge
Salisbury, MD 21801
(540) 555-1111
bo23456@salisbury.edu

October 26, 2008

Ms. Glenna Wright
Human Resources Manager
Fashion Department Store
2000 Line Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

Dear Ms. Wright:

I enjoyed interviewing with you during your recruiting visit to Salisbury University on October 25. The management trainee program you outlined sounds both challenging and rewarding and I look forward to your decision concerning an on-site visit.

As mentioned during the interview, I will be graduating in December with a Bachelorís degree in Fashion Merchandising. Through my education and experience Iíve gained many skills, as well as an understanding of retailing concepts and dealing with the general public. I have worked seven years in the retail industry in various positions from Salesclerk to Assistant Department Manager. I think my education and work experience would complement Fashionís management trainee program.

I have enclosed a copy of my college transcript and a list of references that you requested.

Thank you again for the opportunity to interview with Fashion Department Store. The interview served to reinforce my strong interest in becoming a part of your management team. I can be reached at (540) 555-1111 or by email at bo23456@salisbury.edu should you need additional information.

Sincerely,

Marianne Boles

Enclosures


Thank You Letter for On-Site Interview

170 Roanoke Street
Salisbury, MD 21801
(540) 555-6241
JR23214@salisbury.edu
March 3, 2008

Ms. Patricia Smith
Personnel Manager
Sheldon Computers and Electronics
1212 Lark Lane
Baltimore, MD 23230

Dear Ms. Smith:

Thank you for the opportunity to visit with you and see your facilities last Wednesday. Both the interview and the tour made for an exciting and complete day.

I was particularly impressed with your warehousing procedures. Mr. Allen was so thorough in explaining your process to me, and I will be corresponding directly with him to express my appreciation. Incidentally, the process you use is quite similar to one I have been researching through an independent study this term. Perhaps I can share my final report with you and Mr. Allen.

The expense report you requested is enclosed.

Again, thank you for your hospitality during my visit and for all your efforts to arrange my visit. Having seen your operation, I am all the more enthused about the career opportunity that Sheldon Computers and Electronics offers. I look forward to your decision.

Sincerely,

Jan Richardson

Enclosure


Ask the Experts When to Follow-Up

From CollegeRecruiter.com

Question:

I recently interviewed for an entry level position. At the conclusion of the interview, the recruiter said that they had not yet interviewed several more candidates so couldn't give me an answer right away. They did not indicate when I would know. Do I send them a thank you letter? Do I call them? How long should I wait?


First Answer:

By all means, send a thank you letter. Let them know that you are interested in the position and that you will be taking the initiative to check back with them within a certain period of time. (i.e. next week, during the week of September -------.) Follow up the thank you letter, with a phone call per the information you gave in the thank you. When you call, ask to speak with the person you interviewed with. If they are not available, instead of leaving a message, call them back. When you speak with them, just ask if they have made a decision about the position yet. If they have, then at least you won't keep wondering. If they haven't, let them know you are still interested and ask what their decision time frame is.

Next time, I would suggest that at the end of the interview, you ask when they think a decision might be made and that you will be calling within a certain period of time to follow up.

-- Linda Wyatt, Career Center Director, Kansas City Kansas Community College.


Second Answer:

Dear Recently Interviewed:

I thank you note is a "must do" after any interview whether or not an offer is forthcoming. If you are interested in the position and feel that based upon the interview, you could do an excellent job, I would mention that. You shouldn't feel shy about expressing a strong interest in a position.

I would also wait a week and then follow up with a phone call. They may be at the very beginning of their search, but it's important to let them know that you will go after what you want and that the job is of interest to you.

Good luck with your search.

-- David E. Gordon, Advertising/Promotions Internship Office, Columbia University in Chicago, Illinois.


Third Answer:

Absolutely send them a thank you letter, and the sooner the better! Not only is the thank you letter a critical component of job search etiquette, it also serves as your perfect opportunity to remind the interviewer of key benefits you bring to his organization.

If you don't hear anything from the company within a week, follow up with a telephone call to the interviewer to check the status of the selection process. While you wait, do not relax your job search; continue on as usual.

-- Rene' Hart, Resumes for Success!


Fourth Answer:

Generally, the rule of thumb is to send a thank you letter immediately after an interview. Regardless of how many more applicants the company will interview, it is recommended that you immediately follow up with a personal letter. I think it is a good idea to call back and follow up about a job. It lets the company know that you are still interested. Wait about 3 - 5 business days before calling back. http://www.careerlab.com/letters/chap13.htm is a great place to take a look for sample thank you letter.

Good luck.

-- Anita Moses, Careers & Education Department, New2USA.com.


Fifth Answer:

A thank you note or letter is a MUST, in my opinion. To overlook the opportunity to re-enforce your impression with a potential employer is a chance lost.

The issue of being left hanging is one, I feel, best addressed before leaving the interview.

Be proactive; be polite; conclude your meeting with "I am very interested in the opportunity available at XXXXXXX Company and feel I will be an asset to the firm. May I ask what you see as the next step in this process --- shall I contact you in a week or ten days, after you have talk with the other candidates or will you contact me within the same time frame?"

I don't suggest being aggressive but a little polite assertiveness may indicate to the interviewer a bit about your drive and desire.

-- Robert C. Resch, Career Center, Triton College.


Sixth Answer:

Always send a thank you note - even if the experience was terrible. At the very least you are thanking them for their time. Hopefully you are also able to highlight what interests you about that company. In your particular case, a thank you letter should be sent right away - this could make the difference between you and another candidate!

As for calling, you should wait at least a week. When you do call, be very polite and ask for a timeline. That way, you know when to call again.

Finally, you may always ask what the projected timeline is at the end of the interview. Not only is it appropriate, but it shows that you too have a need for closure. You may also ask when or if you should follow-up with a phone call. Keep in mind that jobs are rarely offered on-the-spot.

Best of luck to you.

-- Holly Lentz, Lentz Productions.


Seventh Answer:

You should send a thank you no matter what. Send it as soon as you get home from the interview so they have it one or two days after they met with you. Before you leave the interview, you should also ask if it's ok for you to call and check in on the status of your application. If they say yes, ask them how long you should wait. If you did not ask and you have no idea about when an appropriate calling time would be, wait one week. In most cases, if an employer really likes you, they will let you know it very quickly. If one week goes by and you don't hear from them, they probably aren't too interested in you so you should get on with your life and not worry about hounding them because it won't get you the job!

-- Troy Behrens, JOBGOD.NET.


Eighth Answer:

Entry level positions are sometimes considered the "busy work" of human resource professionals charged with hiring for them. Most of the time, there is a process they follow to get the job done. And the non-committal answer you received is typical of such a process.

As a general rule, you should always accept the burden of responsibility for return contact. It is entirely appropriate to ask these same questions in the interview with this in mind. Aside from meeting your requirements for an answer, this also projects you as a proactive individual. And chances are, they are prepared to receive your call about the status of your application if you follow their instructions.

The only problem will be triggering their memory of who you are when you do make return contact. So remember to make note of who interviewed you, where you were interviewed and even the time you were interviewed. It may be helpful to know their job code or classification too.

-- Jeff Westover is a writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah with over 15 years of business, personnel and human resource management experience.


Ninth Answer:

So few people write a thank you note after an interview that they do indeed make a difference. But a thank you note is not the "thanks for the great socks, Grandma" letter; in fact, this letter is mis-named. It should be called the "second opportunity to sell" letter. Because you now know more than you did before the interview, use the information you learned to demonstrate your fit for the position.


Example:

"In our interview you emphasized the need for a quick learner in this position. I gave you an example of my ability to absorb new information quickly as a contributor to a team project surveying the athletic shoe market in my marketing class. Here is another example: in my summer job as a research assistant for Proctor & Gamble, I volunteered to fill in for an ill product specialist at a new foods convention, and mastered all the specifications and competitive advantages of a new snack bar within two days."

Given that this recruiter was still doing initial interviews, I would wait two weeks before calling to say, "I interviewed with Mr. Tortoise two weeks ago and am calling to ask the status of this search, as I am very interested in the position."

When you interview in the future, remember to ask what the next step in the search process is and when you may expect to hear from the employer. Even for an entry-level position, an employer may conduct several rounds of interviews, so you may have a second or third interview with different individuals before a hiring decision is made. Write "second opportunity to sell" letters to each person who interviews you-they differentiate you from other candidates!

-- Carol Anderson, Career Development and Placement Office, Robert J. Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at New School University in New York City.

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