How to write a good follow-up email after your interview

Posted December 29, 2020

As a job seeker, you’ve no doubt breathed a sigh of relief as you’ve walked out of an interview, thankful that you made it through with minimal jitters, and excited for the next steps. But did you know that the next step is not waiting for a call? That’s right, your work as a job seeker doesn’t end with the interview. While ultimately, the offer you’re waiting for is in the company’s hands, there are several things you can do to stay foremost in your interviewer’s mind and continue to make a great impression.

It turns out that some of the biggest mistakes job seekers make, post-interview, is to either follow up too soon, too frequently, or not follow up at all. All of these can impact your candidacy for a job in a negative way. While there’s not an exact science to it, there are some good practices and general rules of thumb to follow as you leave your interview and prepare to send one or more follow up emails.

The purpose of follow-up emails

There are several types of email follow-ups that are important to keep in your job search toolbox. 

1. A Thank you Email to express your gratitude:

Being gracious and grateful never goes out of style. Your interviewer took time out of their very busy day to sit and chat with you about your goals, experiences and aspirations. Send them an email as soon as you leave your interview to let them know how grateful you are for their time and consideration. This first email also provides a forum for you to once again express how excited you are about the job, and share anything you may have forgotten to mention in the interview of why you’re a great candidate.

2. A Follow-up email to inquire where they are in the decision-making process:

This email not only provides a forum for inquiring if you’re still in the running or not, but it also provides an opportunity to once again express your excitement about the job and the company. It’s always a good idea to inquire of your interviewer when you might expect to hear back from them.

3. A Check-in email for networking:

This provides an opportunity to simply touch base and maintain a connection for networking purposes in the event that another position opens up in the future.

Is a follow-up email effective?

In short, yes. The follow-up email is your chance to make additional touches with an employer, show your gratitude, restate your interest and fit for the role, and maintain an open line of communication. That said, don’t flood that line of communication to the point that an employer wants to block you. While in an ideal situation you’ll only ever send the first email (the Thank You email), some situations may require additional follow-up emails. In such cases, it’s important to understand the right Send frequency, and not to abuse it. 

If a hiring manager has already made the decision not to hire you then it will seem as though the follow-up email is ineffective however, it probably got you your answer sooner so that you can free up to answer any other offers that come your way. So in fact either way the follow-up email is effective. 

Any thank you email at all is a good idea because the majority of applicants don’t take the time to write a follow-up email. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd who does send Thank You notes, you’ll want to change up the standard post-interview follow-up email. 

When should you send follow-up emails?

On the same day as your interview an initial Thank You email can and should be sent. Make sure to tailor it to the company you interviewed with. A generic email will sound manufactured and not as genuine or authentic, and look as though you just hit the Send button on sample emails in your outbox.

Defining features of a good interview follow-up / Thank You email

1. Clear, direct subject lines such as:

  1. Following up on [Job Title]
  2. So great speaking with you!
  3. Appreciate the opportunity of your time!
  4. Thank you!

2. Easy to read format (using paragraphs, proper punctuation)

Keep it simple and clean. Proofread multiple times to ensure that it reads easily and is free of errors.

3. Start with the Thank Yous

Gratitude is a defining feature of the successful. Be grateful for every opportunity, and let it be known.

4. Restatement

Reiterate your interest in the position, along with your experience, goals, and how they relate back to the job.

5. Clarify your value proposition

Make sure to clearly indicate what makes you a stellar candidate, and the unique value you bring versus others

6. Informational close

Close with “Thank You,” your signature and your contact information so they can easily reach you.

Examples of good follow-up emails 

Example 1: The Thank You

Dear [Interviewer’s name],

Thank you very much for your time and for meeting with me today. After speaking with you I’m even more excited about this opportunity to be a part of your team with [the company].

I know that not only will my X years of experience in [job industry] benefit [Company name] but my demonstrated work ethic and commitment to excellence will help establish a pattern for success.

I’m looking forward to speaking again. Please keep me posted on the status of the position and the hiring process.

Kind regards,

[Your Name, email, phone number]

Example 2: The Check-In

These emails are short and sweet, generally no more than a paragraph. The main purpose is just to see if the job is still available, and to gently remind your interviewer that you are still available and interested in the position.

Dear [Interviewer name],

I hope you’re doing well! You mentioned that you’d be making decisions about [the job role] this week. I’m just sending a quick note to check-in. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you and your team, and am eager to learn the status of the [job role] and where you are in the hiring process. If there is anything I can provide or respond to that might aid in the decision-making, do let me know. 

Best regards,

[Your name, phone number, email]

Example 3: The ‘Let’s Keep in Touch’

Okay, so what do you do if you didn’t get the job? You send another email to maintain contact and reiterate your interest in the company, the interviewer and growing in your career. This email isn’t meant to change any decision outcomes but to clarify your career goals and desire to learn and grow, and as such, keep in touch with a great company that you’d like to work for. It may just happen that a new position opens up down the road that is more right for you. So keep in touch!

Dear [Interviewers name],

I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to thank you again for your time and consideration regarding my job application for [job role]. I very much enjoyed speaking with you and learning more about your career path. I found what you shared both exciting and inspirational, especially as I grow my own career in that area. I’d love to learn more from your experience in shaping your own career, and how you’ve grown and developed in your career and in your role with [company name].

I know you’re very busy, but would greatly appreciate it if you could calendar me to chat for a few minutes. Do you have time for a quick call this month? 

Thank you very much,

[Your name, phone number, email]

The Post-application Follow-up Email, and what to include

A week or two after submitting your job application, it’s appropriate to reach out to the recruiter, letting them know why you’re worth contacting back. This email is basically a quick recap of your resume and cover letter, helping get your experience in front of a recruiter’s eyes with a more personal touch.

Dear [Recruiter],

My name is [your name]. I recently applied for the [job title] role with [company name]. I’m very excited to be a part of a company that [what the company does that you care about].

I’ve included three reasons below why i’m the right candidate for this role:

  1. [Express any soft skills you have that that would be applicable to the role and beneficial to the company as a whole]
  2. My experience in [role or industry] has not only prepared me to learn quickly, but to go above and beyond as a [job role].
  3. I’m driven to succeed at the things I care about, and I’m particularly excited about [industry, field] and [type of work environment].

I’m eager to meet and discuss my qualifications for the [position] role. My resume and cover letter are attached, along with a sample of a recent project I completed.

Warm regards,

[Your name, email, phone number]

Following-up after an interview is critical. Following-up before the interview is helpful. Make sure to keep this guide handy as you prepare to apply for jobs and go into interviews, to give you the upper hand in your job search and in securing your careerbliss.

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