Art of the Follow-Up: What To Do Post-Interview

You perfectly prepped for your interview and practiced it. Then you went in and aced it with a one-two knockout punch, walking out feeling more relieved than when you got your LSAT score. That’s great! But even though you’ve shaken hands, said goodbye, and changed from your interview best to your comfy lounge clothes, the interview isn’t over. Not really. Keep your focus sharp on the time ahead to make sure you stay on the hiring team’s minds. Read on to discover just how you can be their top candidate after the interview.

The Thank-You Note

Always thank your interviewer with a personal note. While you may think it’s optional, not sending one could ruin your chances of being hired. If you interviewed with more than one person, write an individual letter for each person. If you met with a large group, concentrate your letter on whoever you most interacted with.

Your note can be on letter paper, inside a blank card (no cartoons or images, find a simple card that says “Thank You” on front), or by email. But whatever way you choose to write, make sure it is legible and grammatically correct. Ideally, it should be delivered within 24 hours of your interview. If you have a physical note or card, drop it off with the office receptionist, who can then route it to the correct person. Don’t send it through the post office, as that could take too long.

However chummy you might have become with your interviewers when they were overwhelmed with your charm, address the note formally. Remark how you appreciate their time and consideration. Bring up particular points of conversation from the interview that you particularly liked and use it to reinforce your interest in their firm. Invite them to contact you if they have any other questions. Be confident, but avoid presumptions such as, “I look forward to working with you.”

You may or may not receive a reply to your note once it’s sent. Don’t take it as a sign either way. Some firms reply as a matter of course, and some don’t reply due to the sheer volume of interviewees and other duties.

The Follow-Up Contact

Following up is tricky. You want to show your dedicated interest, but you don’t want to push too hard on an interviewer with many other duties. If your interview concluded with clear information about when you can expect to hear from them, definitely honor that date.

If not, try to wait two weeks. If the interviewer freely gave you their email address, then send an email asking for an update. Emails are easier to follow up on and generally less intrusive than phone calls. The interviewer’s response to the email will again gauge just how often you can check up. If you prefer the personal touch of a call, one call and a cogent voicemail will do. Don’t keep following up.

If another two weeks go by and you haven’t received a firm decline, place a call. That puts you a month out, which doesn’t mean it’s time to become discouraged but does signal that they may not be in a big hurry. Keep in mind that some firms may need to consult several stakeholders for whom hiring is only a small part of their duties.

Whether or not an offer materializes, make sure you spend some time in introspection. Make an honest assessment of your performance as a candidate, in all stages—preparation, interview, and follow-up. Bank that knowledge, make adjustments where necessary, and hit your next interview with renewed energy and focus.

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