Congratulations! You aced the initial interview. What’s next?

Congratulations! You aced the initial interview. However, careful companies will be watching your follow up as well, because there are likely others who have aced their initial interviews as well. The strength of your follow up may determine your future with the company. Here are your best practices when crafting a strong message after the interview.

Handwritten Letter

Did the hiring class in your prospect company come of age in an era before smart phones and commercial Internet access? If so, they may appreciate a handwritten follow up. Not only will you invoke nostalgia of a sort, but you also showcase your attention to detail.

A handwritten letter helps you stand out immediately; however, this also means that any flaws will stand out as well. Make sure that you are well versed in business letter format. Keep it short. You may reference any commonalities you seeded during your interview, but make sure never to get too personal.


If an interviewer specifies that (s)he would rather receive emails as a follow up, certainly follow that direction. You will need to market yourself in the follow up, because the email box of your interviewer is likely full of correspondence from your competition as well as other issues.

Your subject line should be brief and powerful. Stay professional and draw attention to any commonalities that you and the interviewer may have shared. Many of the best follow up subject lines also include a hint of first day benefits – some potential employees may email the interviewer an industry tip or the answer to an internal problem as if he were already part of the company. This is a bold move, but it brings immediate value to the relationship. Your interviewer will have a harder time dismissing your follow up if you do this.

Phone Call

Phone calls can be tricky, because the modern schedule usually reserves phone calls to high value appointments. You are not likely to catch your interviewer over the phone unless that interviewer enjoys being on the phone. In general, one of your other options is usually better unless your interviewer specifically says that (s)he prefers phone calls as a follow up measure.

Always be ready for a conversation, but be ready to leave an intelligent, short message if you do not get through. Keep in mind that your interviewer knows what you are calling for once you mention your name and state your business, so do not use this time to ask for the job or retrospectively speak about the positive character traits that you forgot to bring up during the interview. You may ask about the timing of the position, and feel free to offer value as well. If you have a useful piece of information for your follow up, use it.

One phone call is enough – your interviewer got the message. It is good business for your interviewer to bring closure to your follow up query regardless of the outcome; however, keep in mind that you are owed no explanation. If you call back twice and get nothing, with a week between calls, move on.

No matter the method you use, make sure that you understand the rules of the road. Pay close attention to the preferences of your interviewer. Always bring value when you can, and keep improving your skill set!