As she left the building, Jane wanted to dance across the street; her interview had gone so well that she was sure they’d offer her the position. But she didn't send a thank-you note, and she didn't get the job. Here's proof that, despite your qualifications, failure to follow up after an interview could cost...

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As she walked out of the office building where she had just finished a job interview, Jane wanted to dance across the street. Her interview had gone so well that she was sure they’d offer her the position.

Unfortunately, Jane didn’t bother to follow up with a thank-you note. Despite her stellar interview, she didn’t get the job.

“Many job seekers believe that the interview is over once they step out of the office, but that’s simply not the case,” said Amanda Augustine, job-search expert for TheLadders. “Based on my decade-long experience in conducting interviews, I can attest firsthand that failure to follow up can be the deciding factor in rejecting a candidate who is otherwise a great fit.”

How you follow up after an interview depends mainly on the culture of the company. Typically, this means sending a thank-you note within 24 hours. An Accountemps survey showed that 87 percent of hiring managers now view email as an appropriate way to express thanks after a job interview.

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If the company culture is more traditional/formal, or if it’s in the customer service/retail industry, a handwritten or typed (and mailed) thank-you note is still acceptable. While a phone call is also an option, it’s not something I recommend. I say this because, as a hiring manager for many decades, the last thing I wanted was for job candidates to interrupt my busy day to thank me for the interview they just had.

The least-appreciated method is sending a text message. According to the Accountemps survey, only 10 percent of hiring managers viewed texting as appropriate. Thankfully, this happened to me only once, when a candidate texted, “Thx for the intrvw!” While texting might be convenient, it’s not appropriate for interview thank-you notes.

Data released by CareerBuilder show that 22 percent of hiring managers are less likely to hire a job candidate who doesn’t send a thank-you note after an interview, because they believe that it shows a lack of follow-through and that the candidate isn’t serious about the job opportunity.

Don’t make the same mistake Jane did. After your job interview, take the time to send a customized thank-you note to differentiate yourself from the other candidates and to reinforce your interest in the position.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.