After an interview, what comes next? This post explores the steps that should be taken once the interview has been completed. It also introduces the thank-you letter and discusses why submitting it is important. In addition, it introduces strategies for creating a strong thank-you letter and how to follow up with the employer.

What to do After the Interview

The interview is not finished until you have exchanged business cards (if applicable) and submitted a thank-you letter. How do you disengage from the interview, yet leave with all of the information that you need in terms of follow-up? It can feel a little awkward when you may not be sure of what to say.

The interviewer will usually offer their business card. You are probably wondering why this is so important. It is vital that you get the interviewer’s business card because you will need the correct spelling of their name, their e-mail address, and their business address to submit a thank-you letter. You will also need a phone number for follow up later on.

Woman sitting in a chair

Why is the thank-you letter important?

Thank-you letters tell the employer that you appreciated the time that they took in assessing your skills and experiences. Sending a thank-you letter is the professional thing to do following every interview. You want to take advantage of an additional opportunity to connect with the interviewer so that you can remind them that you are a strong candidate who is very interested in the position. Creating a well-written and focused thank-you letter will complete your professional image.

Learn More About How to Follow up After an Interview

Click the following link to learn more about how to follow up after an interview:

Creating a Thank-You Letter

There are some basic strategies to follow when writing your thank-you letters. First of all, it is important that the thank-you letter is written specifically to one person. If you are interviewed by three people, you should send a thank-you letter to each of them, provided that you have their contact information. If they did not provide business cards during your interview, you may check with the company’s human resources (HR) office to get their e-mail addresses, or you may e-mail the person who managed your interview process to ask where to send the thank-you letters.

Man on laptop

What to Include in a Thank-You Letter

Always thank the employer for taking the time to meet with you and once again emphasize your interest in the position. It is also important to mention something specific about your discussions during the interview. An example of this would be to talk about something that you forgot to tell the interviewer during the interview. This is an excellent way to showcase additional skills or experiences. You will need to include the following sections when writing your thank-you letter:

  • Your own contact information block
  • Date
  • Interviewer’s contact information block
  • Greeting
  • Three paragraphs
  • Salutation
  • Your signature

Error-free documents are the hallmark of a professional. Be sure to read your letter out loud to check for errors. You will want to keep the thank-you letter short. You may also ask someone else to critique your writing. Finally, as with any professional documentation, run a spell check using your software before submitting.

Sending a Thank-You Letter

There are a number of ways that one can submit a thank-you letter. There are a couple of different perspectives on how the thank-you letter should be submitted. Should it be handwritten? Should you send a thank-you letter via mail? Should you send an e-mail? It is completely appropriate to send an e-mail thank you note. You need to have excellent handwriting skills if you are planning to submit a handwritten thank-you note or letter. In addition, you will want to consider the time that it will take for your handwritten note or letter to arrive. Furthermore, the note or letter may not get to the interviewer, so it may not be able to influence the hiring decision. What should you do then? Today, recruiters are opting more for thank-you letters that are sent via e-mail.


Some recruiters say that it is not necessary to submit a thank-you letter, but there is no way to know whether or not your recruiter falls within such a group. Therefore, it is better to send a thank-you letter, just to be sure. The person who goes the extra mile may get more attention. What approach you take in thanking your interviewer does not matter as long as you actually do it. Finally, the thank-you letter should be submitted within 48 hours.

At the same time, there are some things that you should not do in a thank-you letter, and these are as follows:

  • Do not treat writing the thank-you letter as something that you are just forced to do. You need to take it seriously. You are getting another opportunity to make a positive impression on the interviewer.
  • Do not see your thank-you letter as just an opportunity to say thanks. You get to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job once more.
  • Do not forget to include information from the interview. If you begin writing your thank-you letter ahead of time, you will want to leave the middle paragraph open to include information that you discussed in the interview or to add something you forgot to say earlier.
  • Do not hand your thank-you note to the receptionist on your way out.

Following Up After the Interview

Now that you have sent your thank-you note, e-mail, or letter to the interviewer, you may still want to follow up. Sending a thank-you letter is sometimes referred to as follow up, but there are other ways (and reasons) to follow up. Suppose that it has been a while since the interview and since you have sent a thank you note, and you have not heard from the employer. Should you be concerned? Often, it is nothing to be concerned about. It takes time for the process to unfold.

Sometimes, the interviewer will provide a time frame and describe how the process is expected to unfold. If the employer does not provide this information during the interview, it is acceptable to make this your last interview question (e.g., “When do you think you will make a final decision?”). This information is important. It will give a time line on when you will be able to reach out to the employer to follow up after sending a thank-you letter.

Here’s an example…..

If the employer says that they will make their final decision by the end of the week, it would be unacceptable if you call midweek to ask if they have made their decision. Not only is it inappropriate, it shows that you were not clearly listening to the employer. If the interviewer gave you a time frame (e.g., 2 weeks) and it has now been 3 weeks since your interview, you might consider reaching out to them. Instead of telling them that they have not gotten back to you, simply say that you are touching base because it has been a couple weeks, and you are still very interested in the position.

It is possible that the interviewer had some sort of scheduling issue with additional candidates or the selection committee members could not get together to make the selection. At times, the HR department may freeze the position for reasons that you will not know about. Either way, it cannot hurt to check on how the selection process is proceeding, but you should only do this once. Your potential employer would not appreciate multiple checks. If, after some time, you still have not heard from the company, there comes a time when you need to move on.