Congratulations! You survived a job interview.
Now, what’s next?
After the initial stress of the interview subsides, a new stress can begin; why haven’t I heard back? How did they think my interview went? Did I do well? What more could I have done?
The answer? The follow up email after the interview. A reported 91% of hiring managers enjoy receiving follow-up emails, thanking them for their time and the opportunity to interview. However, only 43% of candidates choose to send them. An easy way to set yourself apart from over half of the competition is by sending that email!
So here are some tips, tricks, and best practices to write an awesome follow-up email to give yourself the best chance possible at securing that dream job.
The Purpose of a Follow-Up Email
A follow-up email gives you the chance to stay in touch with the person making the hiring decision. By sending an email to thank them for their time, you are showing that you are:
- Thoughtful: Taking the time to write a follow-up email shows that you truly appreciated their time and wanted to share that with them.
- Kind: People like being thanked. Show them that you valued the time you got to spend with them.
- Detail-oriented: This is a great trait in a new hire. It shows that you’ll follow up with clients and co-workers to have the most open and effective communication possible.
- Responsible: Taking the time out of your day to send a thank you shows that you are respectful and organized.
You’re extending the relationship you’ve already built with them and opening the door to continue communication about the job offer.
In a practical sense, it also gives you a chance to say that you are available and willing to offer any additional information they may need. If they have any questions about your past experience they need to be clarified or would like a number to call your references, you’ve opened up a communication channel for them to get that information.
The Initial Follow-Up
If this is your first interview, you’ll want to send your thank you email within 24 hours. Begin the email with a formal introduction, mentioning the person you spoke with by name. This keeps the email from sounding generic and cookie-cutter, giving it a personal touch. Let them know that you were thankful for their time and repeat the enthusiasm and interest in the position you expressed in the interview itself. Then end the email saying something along the lines of “please feel free to contact me for more information” and how you’re available to chat again in the future, whether that be something as formal as a second interview or just in another email with a quick question.
The end of the email will depend on whether or not you both discussed when the hiring decision will be made. If they let you know in the interview that the decision will be made in two weeks, let them know you’re excited to hear back from them by that date.
If a timeframe for the hiring decision was never established, you can ask at the end of the email when you should expect to hear back from them regarding a decision.
Here are some good rules of thumb to follow when considering how to craft your follow-up email that will best fit your personal situation.
- The further along you are in the process, the more detailed and personal you should be. After the second interview, your email should include more specifics about your past meetings and what particular parts of the job you’re excited about. It’s more important to keep your response short and sweet when you’ve only had one fifteen-minute phone interview.
- If you interviewed with multiple people, be sure to send an email to each of them individually. Don’t just copy and paste; keep the same sentiment for each of them, but don’t just send the same email three times.
- Feel free to attach a copy of your resume and cover letter, just so they can easily access them if they wanted to take another look. If you’re sending a more detailed email, feel free to connect the job expectations you’re excited about with specific experiences you’ve had in the past. Hopefully, you covered this in your interview, but if there’s a specific point you wish you had made, here’s your opportunity to mention it.
- Stay professional, but show your personality. Distinguish yourself from other candidates with what makes you; what makes you, in particular, excited about the opportunity, and what special traits do you bring to the role? Stay formal, but make sure your email couldn’t have come from just anyone, especially if you’re further along in the hiring process.
You might be wondering why you should write an email rather than give them a call or write a hand-written letter. A hand-written letter would be an excellent addition on top of the email, but only if you’re well along in the process. You don’t want to overwhelm the interviewer with too much communication.
But why not a phone call? Well, this study shows that almost half of people making hiring decisions prefer email over phone calls. Only two out of five were even open to the possibility of receiving a phone call. If you aren’t sure what your hiring manager would prefer, your safest bet is to go with the tried-and-true email approach.
Also, you then have a paper trail of your communication, which makes the content easier to remember, as they can look back to consult the communication as needed.
The Take-Away of the Follow-Up Email After Interviews
The most important part of facilitating communication in the hiring process is respecting the interviewer’s boundaries on what communication works best for them. If they asked you to only communicate by phone, honor that request. Don’t overwhelm them with messages; stick to one well-constructed statement thanking them for their time and consideration and let them choose to follow up with you or not. Once you’ve sent the email, you can sleep easy (well, easier – the role of a job seeker is stressful!) knowing you did everything you could to succeed in your job search.
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