So you’ve made it through your job interview- that means that the hard part is over, you’ve done all you can and now you just need to wait, right?
Not quite, there’s still one thing left to do before you can sit back on your haunches - write a follow-up email.
Your follow-up email is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd and leave a positive impression with the interviewer, and could be considered an important step in the application process.
This can be tricky to do professionally, so here’s our guide on how to write a follow-up email that will show you in a great light.
Should you follow-up after an interview?
First of all, you might be wondering whether hiring managers like to receive follow ups, as some job seekers consider them unnecessary.
In April last year, the executive managing editor of Business Insider Jessica Liebman created a Twitter storm when she wrote an article saying she would not hire anyone who didn’t send a thank-you note after their interview.
The comments were full of hiring managers expressing agreement, and many chiming in to disagree, saying a thank-you note is nice but shouldn’t be compulsory.
So what can we learn from this mini debate? Essentially, you’re better off sending a follow-up email after an interview to be on the safe side.
And with reports suggesting that 57% of candidates don’t send a follow-up thank you after their interview, doing so could put you ahead of your peers and push your name to the forefront of the bunch.
How should you follow-up after an interview - by phone or email?
Secondly, you’re probably wondering what medium to choose for your interview follow-up.
If you’re one of the rare people who prefer to pick up the phone rather than send an email, hold up a second.
Research has shown that employers prefer to be contacted by email rather than phone.
Even if your recruiter contacts you only by calling you, err on the side of caution and email first - a phone call demands attention when the hiring manager may be busy, whereas they can reply to an email in their own time.
When should you follow up after an interview?
So when should you send a follow-up email? Ideally on the day of the interview, but no later than 24 hours after.
Emailing after this time frame might make you look a bit unorganised and suggests you’ll be slow when responding to emails at work.
How to structure a follow-up email after an interview
Here’s how to structure your follow-up email:
1. Address the hiring manager by name. Obviously ‘to whom it may concern’ is not appropriate when you have met the people in question.
If you were interviewed by several people, send an individual email to each and make each one unique.
2. Start by thanking them for their time.
3. Reinforce your interest in the company and position.
4. Refer to things discussed during the interview. Relate your experience and skills back to the job.
5. You have a chance here to add any significant information you may have forgotten during the interview.
6. Close off with pleasantries
Your email should be brief and to the point - a couple of concise paragraphs.
Make the subject line Thank you - [Your name] [Position interviewed for], or a variation on this format e.g. [Position] - [Your name] Thank you
Sending a follow-up email after a phone interview
A follow-up email after a phone interview will be the same as one for a normal interview, unless it was a screening call - i.e. a recruiter or employer reached out to you.
As it’s them who initially showed interest in you, you’ll need to put them at ease by showing your mutual interest.
If they gauge you to have the same experience as another candidate except the other candidate seems much more genuinely keen and interested, you could lose out.
The format of your follow-up email should be largely the same as above except:
1. Thank them for their time
2. Reemphasise your interest in the role
3. Attach a resume and a cover letter
Writing a follow-up email after no response
Many employers will end an interview by letting you know when you can expect to hear back from them with a decision.
It’s not uncommon for this deadline to come and pass without word- there’s lots of moving parts involved in completing interviews and making decisions.
But equally you might be being ‘ghosted’ by the interviewers, where they don’t let you know when you’ve been unsuccessful.
This is why you need to follow-up if you’re still receiving radio silence.
Although the idea of sending a follow-up email might sound a bit like pestering them, if you follow-up in a polite but professional way, it won’t sound like you’re criticising them for dragging their feet.
You should wait until after the deadline has passed to follow up, and then wait another two working days. The only reason you would contact before the deadline is if you’ve received another job offer.
In this case, you should let them know you’re received another job offer but would be happy to turn it down if you’ve been successful securing the job in question.
If the interviewer didn’t give you an expected decision date then as a general rule of thumb you should wait 10 to 14 business days before following up on an interview with no response.
When writing this follow up email, don’t assume that because you haven’t heard back that you’ve been unsuccessful.
Follow this structure:
- Address the interviewer(s)
- Polite pleasantries
- Express that you’re still very interested in the company/position
- Give a gentle prod asking if there’s any information on their end e.g. ‘I just wanted to see if any progress has been made in terms of a decision?’ or ‘I’m looking forward to hearing any updates if possible’
- Thank them
How to follow up after an interview: A summary
Essentially, it’s better to err on the side of caution and write a good interview follow-up email, to give yourself the best chance at securing the job.
Not sending a follow-up email could put you at a disadvantage behind candidates who have done so.
If you’re looking to increase the number of interviews (and follow-up emails you have to send!) in the pipeline, PurpleCV can create you a bespoke CV to give your CV the best chance at securing an interview.
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