Following up on a job interview can be a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, it shows your interest in the position and can serve as a reminder that the interviewer needs to get back to you. On the other hand, improper follow-up can damage your chances at landing a position that might still be available.
Start by sending a thank you note shortly after the conclusion of the interview. A thank you sent by e-mail is perfectly acceptable, and some career coaches recommend it over a handwritten note. However, you may want to send a paper thank you note instead. The delay created by sending your thank you by postal mail means that your note could reach your interviewer at a time when you may be fading from their memory, and it will serve as a positive reminder of your previous interactions.
You have another good chance to follow up a little longer after your interview, as well. In most cases, your interviewer will let you know when you can expect to hear back from them at the end of the interview. If the deadline passes, you can send them a note reminding them of your interest and asking for any news. Communication at this stage is generally best confined to a brief e-mail. Offering to send over any additional information they might need can help you to come off as helpful rather than needy, as well.
Sometimes a job interview goes poorly, and you may be tempted to hide your head and never contact the interviewer again. However, career experts recommend that you stifle this impulse. If you have a bad interview, write to the interviewer and take responsibility for your mistakes and for representing yourself poorly. Even if you ruined your chances for the job, you may be able to turn the interviewer into a networking contact.
Regardless of how you follow up, stick to the basic rules of business communications. Keep the needs of your interviewer foremost in your mind, proofread your correspondence, and don’t be afraid to call if you don’t hear back after several e-mails.