How Many Thank-You E-mails Land the Job?

After a job interview, you need to follow up to stay visible—without becoming a pest. I discuss this issue in my new Business Week article and offer my perspective on how to find a perfect balance based on a number of factors.

I start with an example from my personal experience – of two excellent and equally qualified candidates competing for the same job. One was virtually silent after the interview and thank-you e-mail. The other one sent the thank-you and also checked in about every 10 days with interesting links and industry information. Eventually I had to go with my gut: Since Candidate B went out of his way to demonstrate his interest for the job, I selected him. He remained part of my team for years until he had to relocate for personal reasons.

So Candidate A lost out in large part because he failed to follow up with enthusiasm. But over the course of my career, I’ve also had to exclude candidates from the running because they made pests of themselves after the interview.

It is obvious that candidates who can manage just the right amount of contact are the ones most likely to succeed. So how do you know what the right amount of follow-up is? Every other week is a good general rule, especially if you’re getting a positive response from the interviewer. But every situation is different, and there is a number of things to be factored in. For the complete picture, read more on