Congratulations! You had a phone interview for a new job, and now you’re wondering how and even if you should follow up. Within a day of your interview, you should follow up with a thank you note that affirms your interest in the position. If it’s been a few weeks and you haven’t heard anything, a quick call or email to check on the status of the position is usually appropriate. Even if you learn that you didn’t get the job, a well-crafted follow-up letter could earn you consideration for future opportunities.
Sending a Thank You Letter
Send your letter within a day of your interview.
The sooner you can send your thank you letter, the better. This is because you’re still fresh in your interviewer’s mind right after your interview. If you can’t send the letter right away, send it no more than 24 hours after your interview.
- If, for example, your interview was at the end of the business day, you may want to wait until the next morning to send your note. That way, it’s not lost in an inbox or under a pile of mail from the previous day.
Decide whether you want to send an email or written letter.
In most cases, an email is the fastest and most appropriate way to send a thank you after a phone interview. In rare cases, though, a typed and hand-signed letter may be a better choice.
- If the company with which your interviewing does not have email addresses or a web presence, a hard letter is appropriate.
- If you know you are one of 2-3 candidates who got an interview for a high-level position, a signed note on formal stationery may likewise be a good idea.
- Handwritten letters should be delivered as soon as possible after an interview. Consider dropping off your letter at the front desk or having it messaged over rather than sending it through the post.
Write an email subject that specifies the job for which you interviewed.
Your subject line should clearly communicate two things: your email is a thank you note, and the position you interviewed for. Hiring managers often speak to many people about many jobs throughout the day. You need to help them remember who you are or they may ignore your email.
- An example of a clear, concise subject line is “Thank You – Customer Service Associate Interview.”
Address your letter to your interviewer.
Even if the person who interviewed you isn’t the supervisor for the position, you want to thank them. You often talk to a hiring manager during a phone interview, and they are the person who will make recommendations to the manager for in-person interviews. That’s why you want to stay fresh in their mind.
- Start your letter with a simple, “Dear Mr. Jones,” or “Dear Ms. Smith.” The salutation doesn’t need to be creative, it just needs to address your interviewer.
- If you spoke with more than one person, you should write separate letters for each interviewer. Don’t start your letter with “Dear Mr. Jones and Ms. Smith.”
Thank the person using a detail from the interview in the first paragraph.
You want to keep your note short enough that it’s not a burden to read. Your first paragraph should be 2-3 sentences long. In the first sentence, thank your interviewer for taking the time to speak with you. In the second sentence, reiterate your interest in the position by mentioning something you liked about your interview.
- ”Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about the Customer Service Associate position. I enjoyed hearing about the diverse clientele your team works with every day. Knowing that, this job seems to be an ideal match for my interests and skill set.”
Talk about a relevant skill or experience in the second paragraph.
Like the first paragraph, the second paragraph should be 2-3 sentences long. Use this space to remind your interviewer of one or two unique skills or experiences that make you a good fit for the position. If you forgot to mention something in the interview, use this space to address that, too.
- You don’t want to recall soft skills like strong communication or good people skills. Even if these are true, they are things many people cite and few can back up. Instead, look to hard skills or past jobs that ready you for this new position.
- For example, ”In addition to my enthusiasm for customer service, I bring with me 5 years of experience managing call centers. This gives me not only a background in direct customer interaction but the ability to troubleshoot problems and organize team goals, both of which would be an asset in this position.”
Conclude your letter with your contact information and a final thank you.
At the end of your thank you letter, let your interviewer know how they can reach you if they have additional questions. Then, thank them once more for their time and express your interest in an in-person interview.
- ”If you have any additional questions about my background or experience, you can always reach me at (000) 000-0000 or email@example.com. Thank you again for your time, and I hope we can speak about this position again in the near future.”
Sign your letter with “Sincerely” or another appropriate closing.
“Sincerely,” “Regards,” and “Yours Truly,” are the simplest, most common ways to close your letter. These work for most phone interview thank you letters. Follow your closing with your first and last name. This way, your interviewer knows it’s you, and not the other John that interviewed 2 days ago.
- If you’re thanking someone you already know professionally or with whom you have spoken multiple times, a closing like “Best Regards,” “Cordially,” or “Yours Respectfully,” may be more appropriate.
Inquiring About the Position Status
Give your interviewer at least 1 week before following up.
Unless your interviewer said that you should hear back by tomorrow or that you won’t hear back for a month, give them a week before inquiring about the job status. Remember, this job is one of many things your interviewer is working on, so even though you’re excited, they’re going to need time to make a decision.
Choose whether you should call or email.
This part is tricky because it really is a matter of your hiring manager’s preference. If your interviewer specified that you should either call or email with any questions, follow their instructions. Otherwise, consider the pros and cons of each.
- An email doesn’t demand immediate attention, so it’s considered less distracting and disruptive. However, emails are also easier to ignore and less likely to get a response.
- A phone call is more likely to reach your interviewer and can be more personal when timed correctly. However, if incorrectly timed, it can be a distraction. Avoid calling around lunch, first thing in the morning, or right before the end of the workday.
- Consider the nature of the job, too. If it’s a writing position, for example, an email is a better show of your skill. If it’s a sales job, a call proves that you’re not afraid to pick up the phone.
Keep your inquiry brief and polite.
Remember, the hiring manager has a lot more going on than this one job. Be considerate of their time, and politely ask them about where the company is in the hiring process. Reiterate your interest in the position, and ask if they’ve made a decision. Then, wait for their answer.
- ”Hello Mr. Jones. I’m still very much interested in the Customer Service Associate position we spoke about last week, and I want to inquire as to if a decision has been made regarding second interviews,” works well for an email or on the phone.
- If you decide to send an email, title the subject so that the interviewer knows what you’re asking and what position you’re asking about. Try a title like “Following Up – Customer Service Associate.”
- Don’t forget to sign your email with your full name so that your interviewer knows who is reaching out to them.
Accept their response to your request.
You don’t want to bombard your interviewer with too many questions. If you’re on the phone, a single follow-up may be acceptable. If you wrote an email, unless there’s a truly pressing issue like a competing job offer that you need to communicate, do not reply.
- If a company has not made a decision yet, you may be told, “We’re still in the process of narrowing down our candidate pool at this time.” This is a normal answer and one you shouldn’t pressure the hiring manager about for further detail.
- A reasonable follow-up question for a phone call may be, “Do you have an estimated time frame for the next steps in the hiring process?”
Responding to a Rejection Notice
Send an email or letter.
Even if you spoke with the hiring manager on the phone, you want to follow up a rejection in writing. If you sent a thank you email, you should send an email in this case, too. If you wrote a thank you letter, use a letter here, as well.
- Following up after getting rejected from a job isn’t just good form. It gives you a chance to reaffirm your interest in the company and inquire about other openings in your field.
Thank your interviewer for their time in the first paragraph.
Your response should be brief, like your thank you note. Keep your first paragraph to 2-3 sentences. Use this space to once again thank your interviewer for their time and consideration, and reaffirm your interest in the company.
- ”It was a pleasure speaking with you about the Customer Service Associate position with Conner Advertising. I learned a considerable amount about Conner’s customer care initiatives, and am disheartened I don’t get to take part in them at this time.”
Provide any information that may have arisen after the interview.
If you completed a career skills course, got a promotion, or received special recognition, mention that in your follow up note. This shows your interviewer not only that you have a recognizable skill, but that you are dedicated to your field and your career advancement.
- ”Since we last spoke, I have completed the Freshdesk software training course, which provided me with hands-on experience with this help desk program.”
Reiterate your interest in the company or field.
Let the hiring manager know that you are still interested in future opportunities. Recall the details they outlined in your interview and demonstrate how your skills and experience meet the company or team culture.
- ”While I’m disappointed that I can’t bring these new skills into this position, I’m still enthusiastic about transitioning into the world of advertising. Conner’s history of creating customer-driven solutions speaks to me as a professional. I hope that in the future I’ll be able to use my extensive experience managing customer inquiry flow to further that process.”
Request your resume be kept on file.
Let your interviewer know that you want them to keep you in mind for future positions. If there have been any updates to your resume, attach the latest copy to your email or send a fresh copy with your letter.
- ”I sincerely hope that we have the opportunity to work together in the future. I have attached the latest copy of resume. If any positions arise for which my skills and experience are a strong fit, I’d be happy to speak with you and your team again.”
Close with a final thank you and your contact information.
Thank your interviewer one final time for keeping you posted during the interview process. Make sure they have your name and phone number. Then, close out the letter with “Sincerely,” followed by your full name.
- ”Again, I would like to thank you for not only speaking with me but being so communicative during the interview process. If you ever need to reach me, call me at (000) 000-0000 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to when our professional paths cross again.Sincerely,John Doe”
- If a job posting or interviewer specifically states no follow-up calls or emails, listen to them. This means no thank you notes or inquiry calls. Ignoring these instructions may negatively impact your chance for the position.
- Consider the company culture when following up. If it’s a more casual company, like a tech startup, calling someone Mr. or Ms. may be too formal. If that’s the case, use their first name. In a more formal environment, like a law firm, stick with surnames.