Should you write a follow up thank you email after a phone interview? Short answer: Yes! When should you write one? Short Answer: Almost always! When a follow up thank you email is crafted well, they really are a great way to earn a few extra brownie points from your interviewer. You are proving to them, the phone interview recruiter, on numerous levels that you are a candidate above the rest, for example it shows that you are 'professional', 'personal', 'persistent' and genuinely 'interested' in getting the job or internship placement -- you are taking it a step further than the rest of your competitors -- and this could prove to be the vital 'edge' over your competition that lands you the job. (Edit: Today, more and more people are sending follow up thank you emails after a phone interview -- you should be doing one just to at least 'keep up' -- you can however stand out by making demonstrating how you can solve problems for the company and generally show 'what you can do for them', see below for details.)

"Ok Cool, But What Actually Does a Follow Up Thank You Email Contain?"

There are various rules from a range of sources on what a 'thank you email (and letter)' should and should not include, but below is a general guideline (with a few tips) on what a general thank you email should contain.

  • You should have noted down the full name of your phone interviewer and asked for his or her contact details i.e their email address (e.g. "How can we stay in touch?")-- this allows you to start the email by being personal "Dear Mr. Richardson" rather than a impersonal "Dear Sir". You should also send an additional copy of the email (or an entirely new one) to anyone else who was involved in your recruitment process.
  • Obviously be sure to actually thank them for their time, and for the interview conducted and specify the position you applied for. 
  • Actually write about what happened in the interview that was conducted, they aren't likely to remember exactly how your interview went, only impressions. Hence, this not only gives you a chance to highlight your best bits of the interview, but it also shows the phone interviewer you have given the questions additional consideration and you another chance to answer the question with points you may have felt that you failed to get across. As well as any additional relevant information you had forgot to mention (e.g. specific qualifications).
  • Reiterate your interest. Declare further that you are really interested in taking the position and are looking forward to hearing back from them.
  • A general rule of thumb is 'No more than 600 words' (less if possible), keep it short and sweet, a phone interviewer isn't going to want to have to read through an essay.
  • Keep a professional structure to the email, don't comes across as annoying or 'sucking up' -- be sure to find an appropriate professional tone.

If you have any additional ideas of what to include in the Thank You email, then I encourage you to share it in the comments section below.

"What About -- What to Include in a 'Great' Follow Up Thank You Email?"

What can really separate you apart from your fellow competing candidates and other 'Thank You Emails' is by showing evidence that you have actually thought about your phone interview and the company you are wanting to work for. Explain through an attachment (that you mention in the thank you email that you have enclosed as an attachment), issues and problems that you think the company is facing, and a plan of action on your behalf on how to fix them -- backed up with experience of how you have solved such scenarios before. For example, you have identified potential Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques the company's failed to carry out on their website -- hence, you can explain what you would do to fix them and improve upon the site's search-ability, and what potential results the company could enjoy -- the more specific the better. Create a document of what you can do for them. Such an attachment will blow your competition out the water, as you have already become almost instantly valuable. 

"Where Can I Find Examples?"

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of examples and samples of follow up phone interview thank you letters and emails that can be found online, just a quick term e.g. "samples of follow up thank you letters for phone interviews" on a search engine, will give you a large result of examples to work from. Remember, the email should be directed to the company and the phone interview that has taken place, not something that is generic and a simple template to be filled in, as it will simply blend in with the rest of the Thank-You emails. Make sure you are at least somewhat original.

"When Should I Send the Follow Up Thank You Email?"

As soon as possible. The sooner that you send the email the better, and at the very least within 12 hours since the interview happened -- as they will be quickly making up their minds as to which candidates should be moved on to the next stage of the recruitment process, and you don't want to be too late. The email should be seen more than just a thank you note, it should be seen as a last chance to impress.

"Should it be an Email? How about a Letter?"

Some argue the letter gives a more personal touch and that it has been shown on balance recruiters prefer it. However, emails are instant, hence if there are time pressures an email perhaps is a more suitable option. Moreover, with an email you can file an attachment to 'what problems you have identified within the company and what experience you have on correcting that very problem'. I would personally choose the email, as in my book -- it comes across as being more professional, but the choice is up to you ultimately.

A Few Quick Tips:

In order to get the thank you email to be sent ASAP -- before the phone interview prepare an outline of what you are likely to include, so when it comes down to drafting your email after the phone interview, you only have to fill in the details. So make sure you have already identified the weaknesses in the company etc., what experience have you had and what kind of results can they expect to get (get the attachment ready before the interview). This saves you the time in having to write an entire email from scratch. Also be sure you proof read the email several times (get a friend to check it over as well) before sending it. If you have any general remarks on a follow up thank you email after a phone interview then I encourage you to please share a comment below.