Follow up is extremely important in the hiring process, and a well-done thank you letter can make the difference in getting the job. Employers, however, are of different minds on whether a thank you letter will help a candidate through the process. While the letter may be one more opportunity to impress an employer, it is also another chance to submit something with a typographical error or a misspelled name. In some cases, the letter has no significance one way or the other. The majority view, however, is that thank you notes are important. Like every document you send to a potential employer, it should be treated as meticulously as your resume or writing sample.
Generally speaking, you are not expected to send thank you letters for on-campus screening interviews, and doing so is unlikely to increase your chances of getting a callback. When you have visited a firm on a callback, however, it is appropriate to send thank you letters. This applies to firms of all sizes; everyone appreciates a genuine expression of thanks.
Snail Mail vs. Email?
The consensus is that email is now the appropriate format in which to thank an employer for an interview opportunity. Be extra careful with email; your message is still a business communication, which means it should be appropriately formal (including appropriate salutation and closing) and error-free. In addition, take into account the ease with which email can be forwarded (intentionally or not), and make sure your note contains nothing that unintended recipients might find objectionable. It may be tempting to send a single email to the several people you interviewed with, but it is far preferable to write individualized messages to each. You might also send a message to the recruitment coordinator or staff person who handled the administrative aspects of scheduling the interview. Always keep in mind, though, that your multiple messages may be assembled in your file, so make sure they are individualized . If you do use conventional mail, use a standard business format, and again, make sure your presentation is perfect.
Thank yous should be short and to the point. You should thank the interviewer for his or her time and reiterate your interest in the position for which you are interviewing. Try to recall something specific about your interview experience so that the letter does not look like a generic mail-merged document. It should be carefully proofread and you should make sure you have the interviewer's name exactly right. Send your thank you letter as soon as possible, no more than 1-2 days after the interview. If you are travelling or just could not get to it for several days, you should at least send a thank you email.
As a rule, do not follow up interviews with a telephone call unless you have been explicitly invited to do so, or if you have specific questions to ask or information to convey that was not covered during the interview.