I know there are a variety of opinions on follow-up emails after interviews. I tend to side with "do it", because it probably won't hurt and in some cases you might be able to add something key that you didn't get to in the interview.

Which I think applies in this case. I interviewed for an elementary teaching position earlier today and one of the questions asked was how I would implement a specific STEM program they would want me to teach. I'd never heard of the program, and it wasn't listed in the job ad either, so I'm not sure how I WOULD have heard of it. I was honest about the fact that I had never heard of it, and then gave a sort of generic response about how I'd implement a STEM program without really addressing the specific program they use. To be honest I kind of rambled a bit without saying much and it felt like the low point of an otherwise solid interview for me.

Now that I've gotten home I've been able to research the program they use and have a much better sense of what they are going for and how I would implement it. I was thinking of sending a thank you follow-up email anyway, so I thought I might also write a bit informing the interviewer (principal of the school) that I've looked into the program and give him some ideas I have for implementing it. (I'd keep it short, just a line or two, I know no one wants to read an essay in a follow-up email.)

The problem is, I don't have his email. Everything was set up through the phone. Being the principal of a public school, however, his email was easy enough to find, as it is right on the home page of the school's website.

I'm just wondering if it would be viewed as odd or unprofessional for me to send a follow-up email to that email account since it was never actually given to me personally. Is this common practice or frowned upon?

  • 3
    So long as their address in a somewhat obvious, public-facing place, this should be fine. He's got to expect emails from people he hasn't personally given his address to in his job. It certainly won't hurt.
    – MK2000
    Jun 1, 2016 at 22:17

6 Answers 6


This shows initiative in my opinion. The principal's email is on the school's public website, so they expect you and others to be able to reach him/her/them easily.

Also just say that you came up with a way to implement the STEM program and would like to talk further about it. Don't just give your plan away, because that will be one of your best selling points.

  • +1 for the first paragraph. If I could +1 you again for the second, I would. Mar 14, 2018 at 23:17

What to do if you didn’t get the interviewer’s email address

I always say this, but it’s not always the big things in the job search that give people anxiety. There are also tiny little moments along the way that are completely confusing. This one just came up with a client the other day. She went on a 2nd round interview and wasn’t able to get the interviewer’s email address. Since she’s

This one just came up with a client the other day. She went on a 2nd round interview and wasn’t able to get the interviewer’s email address. Since she’s working with me, she knows that it’s important to always send a thank you note and so was wondering what to do.

Option 1: If you know any other employees’ email addresses and you know the first and last name of the person who interviewed you, you can guess.

Just plug your interviewer’s first and name into the email formula and viola, you’re ready to send your thank you note. If for some reason the email is incorrect, you will get a bounce back and know you will need to try another tactic.

Option 2: Just ask the person who coordinated the interviews.

Generally, this is a recruiting or HR person and they will be happy to pass along this information. You can say something like the below:

Hi [scheduling contact], Thank you so much for setting up my interview today. It was great meeting with [person] and I really enjoyed our conversation. I didn’t get a chance to get [his/her] email address and I was wondering if you would be willing to pass it along so I can send a thank you note. Thanks again and I am looking forward to hearing about the next steps in the process!

Option 3: Email that same scheduling contact and ask him or her to pass along a note that you attach to the email

This is a good option if it seems like the person you interviewed with didn’t want you to have their contact information for some reason. In that case, you can email the recruiting/HR contact and say something like the below:

Hi [scheduling contact], Thank you so much for setting up my interview today. I was hoping you could pass along the thank you note below to [interviewer]. I really enjoyed our conversation and I’m looking forward to hearing about the next steps in the process!

A few other tips

Always customize your thank you notes to the interviewer and to the content of your conversation – more on this here If you interviewed with multiple people, you should still write individual notes to each interviewer Send your thank you note the same day as the interview or the day after at the latest If you’re wondering if you should email or send a handwritten note, I recommend email simply because it’s faster. If you feel that a handwritten note will go a long way, you can send a snail mail thank you note in addition to your email as a follow up — just make sure you say slightly different things in the 2 notes!

  • Comment 1: There’s a lot of solid advice here, but you don’t actually answer the question asked up front and directly, which is, is it ok to harvest an email address from an online source. I might infer your answer would be yes, but always better to make it clear as first point in your answer. However, please note your experience and contribution is appreciated. Dec 18, 2017 at 19:10
  • Comment 2: On SE sites, it’s generally better to use bold letters rather than all caps. Who cares if people still get your point? It’s true the point is still made, but people tend to subconsciously react more positively to standard forms unless changing them serves a purpose. The fancy word would be, it’s not idiomatic to use all caps on SE sites. Sorry for the last sentence, I hate using fancy sounding words. but I don’t know any other word that expresses it. Dec 18, 2017 at 19:16

I think if his email is on the school's website, it's perfectly acceptable.

That said, is he on LinkedIn or something similar to where you could "connect" and send the message that way?

Or there is always ye olde postal mail. That's how thank you notes for interviews used to be sent back in the dark ages.


My simple answer (as an technical interviewer) is:

  • if the whole interview process is handled by HR, then talk/email to HR. In general, if the interviewer did not offer you to contact her/him, then dont.

The reasoning behind this is that often an interviewer may not be the one who drives the process.

If however, it is obvious that there was no HR, or that the HR in not in charge of the process the story may be different (and that depends on your gut feeling in this case!).


The reaction will depend greatly on the person - Some will be impressed by your initiative, some may be spooked or offended.

You can always call the school and a) explain your situation ask for the email, or b) leave the message with the receptionist.

Good luck!


You're so so close.

It is fine to follow up with the interviewer however you can, so I don't think it is weird, as others have noted.

What I do think is weird is that you'd only write one... or two lines. That's just dumb.

If you can write an entire essay on it, then do so. They're literally hiring you to execute this program, so why not go the extra yards and write them out how you would execute it? It shows that you're committed, have initiative, all sorts of other things. I mean, obviously they want to read an essay on how you'd implement it, they want to do it!

Nobody really minds if you can do X or Y at a moment's notice. They do mind that you can do it though, and that the ideas you express make sense.

I've had a friend come out of terrible interviews - similar to yours, really - and write a several page, well thought out power points plan on the topic they didn't understand. That friend is now a senior executive in a bank - simply because, at a high level, you're expected to produce useful items.

So yes, look them up. But also try to give the best answer - no, a better answer, really, since you obviously have more time - than you could have at the interview.

  • "Nobody really minds if you can do X or Y at a moment's notice." Then why are they having an in-person interview in the first place? If they had wanted to give the OP a take-home essay test, they could have done so. If they really don't know how to implement it, then they likely would appreciate an essay, but they probably are asking to see how the OP would respond, not because they don't have any idea themselves. Mar 15, 2018 at 22:30
  • @Acccumulation they are working with OP, so they want to see what OP is like in person.
    – bharal
    Mar 15, 2018 at 22:56

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