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Ask the Career Expert: Interview Follow Up

Ask the Career Expert: Interview Follow Up

J.T. O'Donnell | Excelle

Being new to the workforce isn’t easy. Let Excelle help you! We’re delighted to introduce a new weekly column by venerated career expert, J.T. O’Donnell, founder of

She’ll be taking member questions each week, on topics ranging from finding your first job, to getting a promotion and managing office politics. Submit your question here.

This week, a community member wants to know how to follow up after a successful interview.

Dear J.T.,

How long should I wait up before following up after an interview? And is there a proper way to do this? Would calling her up and leaving a message be too aggressive?

Or should I send an email? I’ve heard handwritten thank-you notes remain acceptable but the idea seems a bit archaic to me.

 Also, what should I include in the follow up? Do I provide references or additional information we didn’t get to in the interview? I know companies usually look to hire within a certain window after the interview sessions and I want to make sure I’m on their minds!

How do I convey my enthusiasm for the position without being overzealous or desperate?

  Thanks, Caroline

Dear Caroline,

Great interview follow up requires considering two important things: Timing and content.

Here are some tips.

To recap, you should e-mail a short thank you immediately following the interview. Technology has made it possible for us to demonstrate our professionalism and interest in real-time. We should take advantage of it! As far as what to write, keep it short and sweet. A one sentence thank you for their time and one or two sentences of personalization are key.

You want to mention something related to the discussion you had with the individual to show you were paying attention. Also, all the folks you interviewed with will more than likely compare e-mails, so sending the same e-mail text to each one isn’t a good idea. Here’s an example of some nice follow up text:

Dear Mary,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about ____ position. I really loved your story about the unhappy client and how you resolved his issues. I can see how that level of customer service has made you and your department so successful. I look forward to the next steps in the hiring process and hope to hear from you soon.


Ashley Jones

Next Page: And what about hand-written notes? →

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