03/20/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Following Up After a Job Interview: Do the Old Rules Still Apply?

Great question don't you think? I thought so when a Fox News anchor asked me that question during a live television interview recently. Honestly, I was caught off-guard for a moment as I struggled to balance the traditional business etiquette norms and the realities of today's business world. In this new era of business, what is the preferred or proper way to follow-up after a job interview?

Early in my career when I was job-hunting, I always sent a hand-written thank you note to every person I met during the interview. But do people really read those notes today? Is it politically correct to kill trees to send a business-related thank-you note through the mail? Personally, when I receive a hand-written thank you, I glance at it in order to acknowledge who sent it and then toss it in the trash. Often times, the person's handwriting is poor so it is hard to read what was written, and most of us don't have time to decipher sloppy handwriting.

Some career experts recommend sending a formal letter after a job interview. Certainly, a type-written letter is easier to read, and you can include more information about yourself to confirm your interest and ability to do the job. But then there is the issue of killing trees again.

You could always pick up the phone and call the person who interviewed you to thank them for their time and interest. However, you risk catching them at a bad time or if they don't answer, leaving a voice mail message. Of course, you won't kill trees when you use the phone.

So that brings me to email correspondence. Is it proper to email someone after an interview to thank them? My answer is "yes." In fact, I was searching for an executive assistant about a year ago and I narrowed down to three top candidates, but I was struggling to make a decision. One of the candidates sent an email after her interview that was relevant to the position, and creatively written. After reading it, my mind was made up. She got the job offer. And no trees were killed along the way.

These are some of my thoughts. I'd like to know what you think. Take a minute and share your thoughts, experiences and advice.