How to Follow Up After a Phone Interview

Employers often do their first round of candidate interviews by phone, and you want to do everything you can to get called back for a second interview. The interview itself is important, of course, but what you do after matters as well. Be sure to follow up after a phone interview.

Typically, the human resources manager will contact you to set up a phone appointment. During this scheduled phone interview, you will be asked a series of questions about your job experience, training or education, and your understanding of what the position might entail.

The Best Way to Follow Up After a Phone Interview

The Balance

After you’ve finished a job interview over the phone, it's important to follow up with a thank-you letter or thank-you email message, just as you would after any face-to-face interview.

Because they will be interviewing many candidates at this point, sending a thank-you note immediately after your conversation will remind the interviewer of your talk, keep you “top of mind,” reiterate the expertise and skills you would be bringing to the job, and will also help to set you apart from the competition.

Take Notes During the Interview

During the interview, make sure that you have a pen and paper on hand so that you can take notes of the questions you were asked, of your responses, and of information the interviewer provided about the employer and their expectations.

As the interview closes, thank the interviewer for their time. Ask what the next step in the hiring process will be an offer to provide any additional information that might help them in making their hiring decision. Don’t forget to ask for their email address.

When to Say Thank You

The best time to send out an interview thank-you email message is right away while the interview is still fresh in the interviewer’s mind. Thanking them and reiterating your interest in and your qualifications for the job is an important part of your job search.

Keep in mind that a well-written thank-you note is actually a second, “freebie” interview in that it continues the discussion you just had by phone. It also serves to remind the interviewer of the strengths you presented during your interview. It’s a great way to reinforce your best skills.

What to Include in Your Thank-You Letter or Email

Always try to make your thank-you note specific to the conversation you had with the interviewer. Avoid generic phrases and personalize the note so that it reflects the specifics of the interview. ​Perhaps you can mention a professional interest that you and the interviewer shared.

Writing a thank-you letter gives you an opportunity to mention anything you wished you had said during the interview but didn't get a chance to say. Or maybe review something you wished you’d said differently.

The letter will also allow you to proactively address any concerns you may have felt that the interviewer might have had regarding your work history, availability, willingness to travel or relocate, or any other issues.

Finally, remember that this thank you note is a golden marketing opportunity for you. “Toot your own horn” a bit by briefly reminding the interviewer of the skills you offer and, based upon what you learned in the interview, how you believe you would be the perfect fit for the job.

Express your interest in what you’ve learned about the company’s culture, attach a copy of your resume to your email message for their convenience, and conclude by stating your hope that they will select you for a face-to-face interview.

To summarize, it’s important to show your appreciation for the interview regardless of whether it was conducted in-person or on the phone. As a general rule, any time you speak with someone from the company – whether in person, over the phone, or with an Internet video-chat – it's appropriate to send a thank-you note.

Not only is writing a thank you note good manners – but it’s also a highly effective self-marketing tool. Hopefully the thank you letter will help keep you in the interviewer’s mind when they select candidates for the second round of interviews.

Leave the Interviewer With a Positive Impression

Initial phone interviews can be a little nerve-wracking for job candidates simply because of the uncertainty factor and because of your inability to read the expressions and body language of your interviewer. By creating a positive impression through a sincere, well-written thank-you note, you are laying a strong groundwork for your eventual hiring and success with your new employer.