Q. What is the standard protocol for following up after an interview?
A. Following up after an interview is an important step in the hiring process and sometimes how you follow up is factored into the employer’s decision making.
A thank you note is still standard protocol and it should be concisely written, to the point and error-free. I can’t stress this last point enough. I highly recommend asking someone else to review your note before you send it to ensure there are no grammatical errors, misspelled words or typos. I’ve had candidates lose out on a job at the offer stage because they sent a thank you note with errors in it. While a hand-written note is best (and collecting business cards will help ensure you have the correct spellings for names and correct titles), an email is fine if it’s written well. One other piece of advice when it comes to thank you notes: if you met with multiple people you should send a different version of the note to each one of them.
If you worked with a recruiter to land the interview, you should follow up with the recruiter immediately after the interview to de-brief. Often the recruiter will schedule time to do this. During this session the recruiter will ask you how the interview went, how much time you spent there, what you learned about the job, what you liked about the position, whether it meets your expectations, who you met and whether you have any questions or hesitations. The recruiter is trying to gauge your interest in the position and whether you’ll want to go back for a second interview if you’re invited. The recruiter will also be assessing whether this job fits your goals, how you answered any unusual questions and what insight you collected about next steps.
If you don’t work with a recruiter, it’s a good idea to do your own de-briefing session and to keep notes on what you learned in the interview, your likes and dislikes and next steps.
At the end of the interview, you should really have an idea of what the next steps are and the timing, e.g. when will the employer be making a decision and when will they be in touch about it. That way you can respond accordingly. My colleague Greg Menzone offers advice for finding out about the next steps in a previous blog post.
About the Recruiter
Frank Gentile is a 20+ year veteran of the staffing industry and an experienced recruiter. As a Director at Professional Staffing Group (PSG) Frank oversees the permanent placement division.