Following up your interview with a sincere “Thank You” is essential. Most professionals understand that sending a note after the interview is important. What some people often misunderstand is how to best send a “Thank You” follow up to the interview – and when you need to do it! The etiquette of the interview follow up is the biggest single interview success technique most people miss.

What Interviews Matter Most?

Quick answer: ALL of them. Whether it’s a screening interview by the recruiter or the final interview with the hiring manager, every touch point counts. Look at this way – a recruiter doesn’t have to pass your information on. If you are unnecessarily rude or have bad manners, your chances of a call-back just got a lot dimmer.

Many external recruiters are not willing to give up their personal email contact without knowing that you will be a viable candidate. A simple “Thank you for calling me about this opportunity” will suffice for the first call. However, any further calls (or emails) require a formal follow up email that includes appreciation and acknowledgment.

Don’t Wait Too Long

A common mistake is to wait a day or even two to send a follow-up note to the phone, video or in-person interview. Time is of the essence! You have very little time to make a good impression. The next candidate might get their note in before you do. As soon as you hang up the phone, end the video connection or leave the interview: follow up.

How you follow up is important as well. Most interviewees will stick to email notes of appreciation and anticipation. However, email isn’t as important as it used to be. We get so much email these days! I get over 450 emails in one of my accounts (100% of it is junk) in a matter of 25 days. We spend almost a quarter of our workday sifting through, sending and responding to email.

Email occupies 23  percent of the average employee’s workday, and that average employee checks his or her email 36 times an hour. – David Burkus

Make Your Follow-Up Count

If you want to make your interview follow up count: don’t count on email. You’ve probably heard that sending a card in the mail makes a good impression after a face-to-face interview. This is very true. You also know that ‘time is of the essence’. So, what do you do? My advice is to come to the in-person interview prepared.

Buy some professionally aesthetic ‘Thank You’ cards. If you know the name(s) of the individual(s) you are interviewing with: fill your cards out in advance. If you don’t know exactly (and you should if at all possible), bring the cards with you. After the interview: fill out the cards, seal them with the individual’s name on the outside and hand them to the receptionist before you leave!

Your Energy and Effort is Worth While

Obviously, this method doesn’t work as well if you are meeting at a third party location. Also, don’t fill them out where your interviewers can see you. Take a few minutes in your car, in the lobby, or (if all else fails) in the bathroom. This takes a little planning but it’s well worth your time and energy!

The impact of a real card hand-delivered on the same day is huge. Even if you resort to snail mail, there is nothing quite like receiving a physical card. Think about it: how much personal mail do you get that isn’t bills or junk? Even my own mother sends me eCards. They are easily overlooked and quickly forgotten (sorry, Mom!). However, the cards you get in the mail sit on your mantelpiece or foyer table for a while. An actual card has significance.

If done in the right way, a simple follow-up note could be exactly what seals the deal. – The Muse

The Double-Shot – Take a Chance

Now, if you either didn’t have a face-to-face interview with your hiring manager or you are unable to follow the hand-delivered card method for some reason: don’t panic. I recommend that you immediately (same day) follow up with an email to whomever your contact is. If you have an internal contact’s email, take a shot at guessing the internal extension of your interviewees. An email bounce doesn’t hurt you any. If [email protected] in Slovenia gets your email, he or she can be confused. It’s ok.

Send your real ‘Thank You’ card in the mail after your email follow up. It will take a few days but it might seal the deal. The corporate wheels of recruiting take a while to turn anyway. The impression a real card makes in the hands of your interviewers is worth gold – or a nice fat salary.

The Interview Technique That Might Land You the Job

It’s funny that one of the biggest impressions can be made in such a small way. As my mother always says: “it’s the little things that count”. If you aren’t sure which office to address your cards to – ask in the interview in a very sneaky way: “What office do you work from?” Interviews are not interrogations, they are conversations. You need to ask questions too! They don’t need to know why you asked, but it helps you make sure that your follow up counts.

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  • Erin Urban

    Career growth & leadership development coach, author and speaker focused on lifting others up into powerful positive transformations.

    Erin Urban, LSSBB, is a certified professional development coach, speaker, and author with a mission to inspire powerful positive transformations. With an extensive background in leading individual, cultural and organizational change initiatives: Erin is a certified leadership development coach, Forbes Contributor, and founder of UPPSolutions, LLC. For more information, visit and connect with Erin on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.