Following up after telephone interviews is just as important as following up after face-to-face interviews—whether or not you are moving forward. Why? It shows your professionalism and good manners. If you’re moving forward, it puts an additional shine on you as a candidate before you come in, and influences the interviewer’s positive opinion of you. If you’re not moving forward, it lays the foundation for a potential positive outcome to be determined in the future. Maybe they’ll have another position that’s a better fit later on, maybe they’ll recommend you to someone else….you never know.
How and when should you follow up after phone interviews? The same way you follow up after face-to-face interviews: send a thank you email within 24 hours of your conversation. And really, for a phone interview, that email should be sent faster. You’re already right there at your computer (or you should be). There’s no travel time or any other reason you can’t send it quickly.
Getting your thank you note into the interviewer’s hands quickly is the reason you want to email it rather than snail-mail it. The speed factor outweighs the hand-written factor in making a favorable impact for you. Many hiring managers use your thank you note as another gating factor in the interview process—which means, they are watching to see what you do and evaluating you accordingly.
In your note, remember to thank them for the opportunity to speak with them. Customize your note for the conversation you had. Add a few additional thoughts, or talk about what you learned that makes you even more convinced that you’re a great fit. Either say that you’re looking forward to speaking with them (if you already have an appointment set) or say that you’ll call to set that up.
A very impressive thing to do is to spread the love around. If you have a telephone interview with the hiring manager, send that person a note AND send your recruiter a note, too. Let them know how it went. Or, if you’re phone interviewing with a few more people before they bring you in for the face-to-face, send that person a thank you note AND send the first person (the HR person or the hiring manager) a note letting them know that you had that conversation and what you learned.
The key here (as in all interviews, throughout the whole process) is communication. Use every opportunity you have to further the conversation, express your interest, and show your fit for the job. Your phone interview follow up is a great opportunity to do that.
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