By Dale Isip

When meeting with potential employers in a job search, you might think your work is done once an interview is over. This may be partially true, but the interview process also includes one more important practice – that of following up.

A good follow-up can make the difference between a potential second interview (or even job offer) or possibly, no response from a company at all. The following are some of the best ideas on how to follow up after an interview.

Defining a Follow-Up

A follow-up is correspondence from an interviewee to an interviewer, hiring manager, or potential employer after an interview is conducted. It is a practice of professional courtesy that serves as a message of thanks and acknowledgement of the meeting between two (or more) people.

The follow-up usually consists of an emailed or handwritten message. Phone calls or texts are not usually encouraged, but this may depend on your correspondence with a company so far. As your interview winds down, ask for the best ways to stay in touch – and follow-up accordingly.

Follow-up Content

Your follow-up should be a one-time message that expresses thanks to your interviewer(s) or hiring manager. It should also acknowledge the content of your interview – so tailor your follow-up messages for each interview you have.

Your first paragraph should briskly, but professionally, express your gratitude to the hiring manager for the interview. Your next paragraph can elaborate on what was discussed during the interview, with a nod to your skills or experience as it pertains to the position.

For example, after initially expressing thanks, you might write, “I enjoyed learning more about this accounting position and the challenges your company faces in the next quarter. I am enthusiastic, however, about using my work experience to help further your company’s success.”

The last paragraph of your message should show your willingness to continue correspondence with the company. You can also include your contact information or link to previous work here. As you close the follow-up message, use a professional sign-off, such as “Sincerely”, “Thank you”, or “Best”.

Follow-up Best Practices

The best practice in sending a follow-up is to do so with within 24 hours of your interview. If you are writing an email, do not follow-up immediately – wait at least an hour or two. Conversely, if you send a hand-written message, write and mail it as soon as possible.

Write a single message to each person who interviewed you. This may include the hiring manager or head of your intended position’s department. Each message should be tailor-made: be enthusiastic, personable, and professional.

Do not write any more correspondences than necessary. You may or may not get a response but that is all part of the interviewing process. If you take initiative in delivering original and appropriate follow-up messages, you have done your part.

A good follow-up professionally acknowledges others and their time. The more you write follow-ups, the easier it becomes, and your chances for getting hired will certainly improve.