Interview Follow-Up Messages: Best Practices

Have you ever made a mistake in a job interview?  Said something you wish you could take back?  It happens all the time, but according to Beth Braccio Hering,  there are ways to recover from embarrassing mistakes, even if you don’t realize the mistake till after the interview is over.

That’s when she says you can use your thank you or follow-up message.  If the mistake is fairly serious (no need to bring up a minor mistake that the interviewer may have missed anyway) you can try to correct the error – but use positive language.  There’s no need to simply remind your interviewer of the problem.

Add Value to Thank Yous

Of course, the best thank yous are ones where you don’t have to apologize.  Thank you messages should be timely (within 48 hours) and polite – and should be sent even for interviews that may not have gone so well.  According to Don Straits, CEO and Dragonslayer of Corporate Warriors, the BEST thank you messages are also value-added:  that is, they add something unique to the conversation, expanding on a topic that was mentioned during the interview.

Value-added thank yous are the way to go.  But if you find yourself in a situation where you want to salvage an interview after it’s over, consider thanking the interviewer and correcting the mistake at the same time.

There are no guarantees when it comes to interviewing and followup messages, but leaving a positive impression is always a good idea.

Email or Handwritten Note?  Another perspective.

“In a recent conversation with a hiring professional the topic of thank-you notes came up. He mentioned the hand-written note he’d gotten in the mail recently.

All those email thank-you notes in his email? The were read in the daily course of business.

The snail-mail thank-you note? He still has it.”

Read the article:

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14 thoughts on “Interview Follow-Up Messages: Best Practices

  1. I think that it is an important skill to know how to write a proper thank you note. A proper thank you note can be the difference between getting the job or falling behind the other candidates. Writing a follow up message makes the interview experience feel personal and makes the recruiter know that you appreciated there time. When initially interviewing for positions, the one thing that was always stressed to me is to make sure you are always sending a good follow up email

    It really doesn’t surprise me that hand written notes are more effective than emails. With the emergence of technology, writing an email is a routine, daily task. Writing a thank you note is something that takes time and effort, and it doesn’t surprise me that a recruiter is more likely to remember it

  2. The point in this post that struck me the most was the idea that a handwritten note is more effective than an email. Kim Thompson mentions that an emailed thank-you note runs the risk of getting lost among the tons of emails these professionals get on a daily basis. She also states that it is more personal and sends a stronger message. It is an interesting opinion in this day and age when technology has taken over the workplace. It makes sense, though, that in order to stand out from the deluge of emails, a mailed letter would be the best route. An article on Shutterfly points out that a written letter shows more commitment to the position than an email. I will definitely think twice the next time I write a thank-you note about whether I hand-write it or send it by email.

  3. The article by Kim Thompson is very effective and helps us to boost chances of getting into jobs. Sending a thank you note after an interview will differentiate us from those who failed to effectively communicate or follow up. This is a way to retain impression even if the interview is not that impressive. Although email is a form of communication, someone might skip one or two emails due to the influx of thousands of emails. According to this article, a written note eliminates this risk and make the decision maker to remember the interviewee’s name more often. A written letter will also make the communication more personal and project a chance for the job applicant to highlight his/her skills and interest for the job for the second time. Unlike emails, a handwritten note is more convenient to read and therefore the applicant’s credentials will more likely get embedded in the interviewer’s mind.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this article because it embodies a lot of what I have learned over the last three years while preparing for interviews and just the job search in general. I have always learned that thank you follow up messages is a great way to have someone remember who I am. I especially believe it is important to state something specific from the conversation I have with the recruiter because this way, they have something to remember about our conversation.

    This article in general helped me realize that besides emails, there are other ways to interact with recruiters and send thank you messages. I have never made a hand written note for a recruiter, but now believe that I might try in the future and hope that it is successful!

  5. I really enjoyed this article because I could relate it. I’m actually very lucky and was told that one of the main reasons I received my internship this summer was because of my follow up email. After my final interview I emailed HR, got the peoples contact information that I interviewed with and continued the conversation through email while thanking them for their time.

    I think people underestimate the importance and significance writing a follow up email has. Adding content to the email makes it that much more intriguing and continues to show your interest. If you are truly interested in a position i think it is really important to put your best foot forward and follow through with all of these tips and best practices. I am just one example of proving that these things matter. And as I agree, “Its the little things in life”

  6. When I ask someone how to make the recruiter remember you, one of most common advice is to send a thank-you message after a job interview. However, I was always struggling about what to say in the letter besides “Thank you”. The “value-added thank you” mentioned in this article gives me a general idea, which is expanding the topic you’ve talked about during the interview. Giving some innovative and unique ideas in thank-you letter can definitely makes your message outstanding. However, before that, how can we remind the recruiter of ourselves using our thank you letter? The interviewer might have met a lot of job applicants and they may have talked about the similar topics. The article “How to write a thank you note after a job interview” gives us another advice about what to mention in the thank you letter: it is better to mention something that the interviewer had said to you other than the things you have said. It is because that people tend to remember what they talked about much more easily. Sentence like “thanks for your wonderful description of the plastic extrusion process. I am excited to learn more” can not only reminds interviewers of who you are, but also makes them feel your enthusiasm for the job.

    Article reference:

  7. Overall, I found this blog post to be very informative. However, there is a little bit of a contradiction. When someone is responding in a thank you letter about a mistake they made, how is that not a reminder of the initial problem? I find it hard to believe the interviewer wouldn’t think back to the interview and remember the mistake. Also, it would be difficult to adapt your writing around a mistake you made while not reminding the interviewer of the mistake. Personally, I would focus more on the positives, and remind the interviewer why they should hire you.

    A great point mentioned in this blog is adding value or expanding on the conversation after the interview. Usually by the end of an interview, the conversation may get more personal where the interviewer really wants to know if you fit into their culture. This is a great part to remind the interviewer of when they read your thank you letter. However, there are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed. In the article attached below, the author talks about things you should never do after a job interview. Some very interesting points are made, especially under the heading, “Don’t Follow Up Too Much”.

    Referenced Article:

  8. I have always heard how thank you notes are valued, and how they can be a game changer in the hiring process. However, after having gone to numerous interviews, with and without thank you emails, I find I am skeptical about the supposed outcome, since mine usually always end with a deferral. I know each situation is different from another but if everyone is sending thank you emails, is anyone really standing out? I think the bigger challenge is to figure out how to convince the interviewer that you are THE one for the job. I know they say to research, send thank you notes, dazzle with the latest news, but what is really the trick to getting considered for step two? That’s what I want to know.

  9. I really liked the topic for this blog post since I, along with others, am in the interviewing stages to secure an internship for this summer. Since freshman year, I was always told that writing a thank you note after an interview was imperative. However, I never thought of using it as a way to make up or apologize for a slip up that might have occurred during the interview. I found the part about expanding on the conversation especially important because it is a way to show that you are continuing to do research and learn even after leaving the office. To go along with this post, I came upon an article that lays out some tips for thank you notes that I believe could help everyone in their interview process.

  10. Although I haven’t begun tackling many job interviews yet as I am just a sophomore, I believe this piece of advice is definitely something I will do when I do start. I haven’t yet dealt with the pressure of possibly uttering mistakes during interviews, but I can tell you already it will happen many times. I tend to get nervous and ramble, and inevitably the wrong words will begin spewing out my mouth. I’m glad to hear a thank-you note is not only a safety net but almost an expected formality! It’ll give me a chance to leave a final-last impression by wording it exactly how I would like with no surprises. I also really like the idea of thank-you notes because it reminds the interviewer who we were, and highlights how interested if I am taking the time to write a follow up. I can’t wait to exercise this advice.

  11. Up to this point I have never sent a thank you after an interview, only follow up emails. But after reading this article I now see the importance of doing this. It is a very easy way to portray yourself as a sincere, genuine person. That can give you an advantage over other potential employees.

    I have always been a believer in thank yous, sending them when I receive gifts or help from another person, but I have never considered sending them after an interview. There is a good chance that I will mess up in one of my first interviews out of college, but now I will know to correct my mistakes in the thank you. I would have never thought to include this in a thank you, but I now see how it is effective.

  12. This article validates a practice I have been employing in my interviews already. After interviewing many people in a short period of time interviewees can be forgotten. A follow up email is a great way to ensure this does not happen. I really like the idea of expanding upon a discussion topic in the email. This reminds the interviewer of you and your conversation and promotes further interaction. If not every person interviewing for the job sends the follow up email it may work even more effectively. In this day and age I feel that interviewers are almost expecting these follow up messages.

  13. I have always seen value in sending out thank you messages. It helps a candidate stand out amongst the many people who have interviewed for the information. An interviewer sees this as a person who really valued the opportunity to meet with the company and has more interest and passion for the position. At the end of my past internships, I have always written out personal thank yous for the people I have worked with as it gives me a platform to express my gratitude to my supervisors for helping me get a step ahead towards my career goal. What made it even better was when I received a thank you from the company as well. It made me feel like my experience, even for the short term was valued and that just writing a simple email or handwritten note can show the personality of a person.

  14. From the start of my professional career at Penn State, the importance of thank you’s has been embedded in my brain. Whether it be a thank you email directly after an interview or a short note to show appreciation for someone’s time, the importance of such expressions have not been lost on me. While I believe that thank you emails in some situations are the best method, for some situations I think personalized cards are the best approach. For example, after I left my internship I made sure to drop off a handwritten card to everyone I worked closely with over the summer to make sure the depth of my gratitude was realized. In situations like this, the simple effort of documenting a thank you shows the type of person I am and the type of person I would like to be remembered as.

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