A follow up or thank you after an interview can significantly affect whether or not an offer is extended. In addition, you are demonstrating personal and professional qualities that are typically sought by an employer:
It offers a strategic means of tipping the scales in your favor.
Besides demonstrating your interest level and the desired qualities employers seek, the follow-up letter offers the opportunity to reassure the employer that you are the best choice for the position. This can mean the difference between an offer being extended to you rather than to another candidate.
There are different ways to follow up and you may want to let your interest level in each position guide you.
A quick handwritten note on a thank you card sent within 24 hours of the interview demonstrates your interest in the position and some of the personal and professional qualities sought in a candidate. This is a time to thank the interviewer for his/her time and courtesy.
An e-mail is similar to the thank you card but may be easier to send. Keep in mind that for e-mail to be effective, it should be reserved for those employers who regularly check their personal e-mail on a daily basis. If in doubt, use a card.
The strategic letter is a more thorough and formal follow up that includes the elements of the thank you card or e-mail but goes a couple of steps further:
This follow up helps nudge that often difficult decision in your favor.
Regardless of which follow up step you choose initially, it is best to jot down the specifics of the interview immediately after your interview while it is fresh in your mind. You will want this information for subsequent steps such as additional interviews or later follow up.
Remember: A follow-up can make the difference in being extended an offer now and it also helps to leave the doors open for the future. Interviewing for one position may lead to another.