How to Properly Follow Up After an Interview
When it comes to sending a proper follow up after an interview, everyone has varying opinions. Personally, I believe sending a handwritten thank you note as well as a short email will do the trick. When starting out in this industry though, I wasn’t always positive what the best approach was, and definitely made my fair share of mistakes.
Right after I graduated college and was eagerly searching for a job, I was asked to interview for an accessories assistant position with Glamour. On the day of the interview, I eagerly headed over to the old Conde Nast offices at 4 Times Square and was early (as I usually am) for my interview. About thirty or so minutes later, I walked out of the building feel confident. My interviewer told me she loved me, and "if she could hire me right there on the spot she would have." So with that phrase ingrained in my head, I was 99% sure I had the job.
I returned home excited to write a thoughtful and well-worded handwritten thank you note. At this time, I did not send an email on top of the handwritten note, which, I believe, was my downfall. After mailing out her card the very next day I waited by my computer hoping to hear something from Glamour. Finally, after a week of silence (I always say to wait a week) I sent a follow up to re-express my interest and to again let her know how much I wanted the job. When I emailed her though, a day later I got a reply saying they had gone with someone else, I thought this was strange to say the least. It really seemed like I had it. As I tried my best not to sulk or get discouraged I had to wonder- WHAT HAD I DONE WRONG?
Several days later, my mom brought in our mail, and handed me my thank you card; it had never actually even made it to my interviewer at Glamour!!! For some reason, I wasn't specific enough when I addressed the envelope, rookie mistake, and so my card was sent back. To this day I have to wonder/believe if I didn't get the job since she hadn't receive any sort of thank you from me. Today, that is why I always send TWO forms of thank yous. The handwritten note, and now because of that horrible incident, I also send an email.
About a month later, I received an email from Teen Vogue that a position had opened up and they wanted me to come in the next day for an interview!!!! Woohoo. As I headed back to Conde Nast, this time to the Teen Vogue offices I had a good feeling. I had had my fair share of interviews now, and I had made my mistakes, it was time for me to nail this, or at least that's what I was telling myself. I can clearly remember, I was wearing a green floral Anna Sui dress and gold sparky Betsey Johnson heels, I felt that my outfit was very fun and #soteenvogue. The role was for a two to three month full-time freelance position assisting with Teen Vogue's Back to School Saturday. When I was ending the interview I was told they wanted me to come in the very next day for a second interview, and they would email me to setup a time. So when I got home I sent my thank you email and expressed my interest to come in again the next day for my second interview.
Two days later, NOTHING. No word from them about setting up the other interview and I was starting to go a bit crazy. Question after question raced through my mind, had I done something wrong? Was my follow up email too much? Not good enough? As time passed I began questioning absolutely every aspect of the interview and decided I would send one last follow up. One last/desperate attempt to show them how interested I really was. So I typed up what I thought of as my last shot, read it over fearfully, and hit send. About one minute later my inbox chimed, they had just been so busy the last few days and forgot to email me. So before I knew it I was back at the offices for my second interview…HALLELUJHAH. My second interview on a Thursday and remember telling them that I could, “literally start tomorrow if you needed me to.” They took that seriously and soon enough I was walking into the Conde Nast building the very next day as an employee! Someone pinch me!
So the moral of my story here would be, it doesn’t hurt to send that one last follow up to just re-express your interest. You never know, it could be that one last email that gets you the job.