For some candidates, the hiring process ends after the interview and a waiting game ensues. But if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to take one more step to get closer to landing that job. Sending a follow-up email is a great way to show the hiring manager your interpersonal and communication skills. The follow-up allows you to thank everyone involved in the hiring process, give them more information about yourself, and reconnect with the interviewers.
Why should you send a follow-up email after an interview?
A follow-up email is a great way to maximize your chances of landing your dream job. It shows that you are proactive and signals your ambition to get the job, demonstrating that you are willing to go the extra mile. It conveys your gratitude to them for setting aside time for the interview and it allows you to keep yourself at the top of the interviewer’s mind and cultivate the positive impression you made during the interview.
Even if you don’t get the job, a follow-up email helps you build your network and expand your contact list. In some cases, recruiters expect a thank you note after the job interview. A study found that 68% of hiring managers believe that not sending a “thank you” note has a negative impact on a candidate's chances.
Seven tips for great follow-up emails
A follow-up email is your chance to keep shining after the job interview. For many recruiters, it’s also an unspoken part of the hiring process. The email does not have to be long or especially detailed to make a great impression. Here are seven tips for sending useful follow-up emails.
1. A compelling subject line
Compelling subject lines have a direct relation to email open rates. Almost half of email recipients decide whether or not they’ll open an email based on the subject line alone. Your potential employer is no exception.
Your follow-up email subject line should be concise, simple, and clear. For example, it could say, "Thank you for your time today”, or "It was a pleasure to be interviewed for the XYZ position”, or "I enjoyed learning about ABC company”.
Keep it simple while also indicating that it is a thank you note, so it is easily distinguishable from other emails. If you include more information related to something you discussed during the interview, ensure you mention that in the subject line.
2. Start with a “Thank you”
Always start your letter by expressing gratitude for the interviewer's time. Once the interview is over, this is where you can show your personality and leave an additional positive impression. Most interviewers see several people in a day, often setting aside their regular work to do so. Thanking them shows that you value their time and have the potential to be a collaborative addition to their team. The “thank you” should be followed by the exact title and position you applied for and your name. This helps with recall value (remember they might be interviewing for more than one position).
3. Express - and curb - your enthusiasm for the job
When sending the follow-up email, you may want to reiterate that you are interested in the job and how it aligns with your interests. You can state why you are a good fit for the company and the position by adding any details you may have missed during the interview itself.
However, you need to keep it brief - short and concise. Long email notes that look more like a cover letter will have the opposite effect to the one you intend.
While it’s great to express your enthusiasm for the job, you should come across as level-headed. Showing your gratitude for getting the chance to interview is fine, but if you overdo it, you risk being seen as someone with poor interpersonal skills.
4. Discuss your interest, goals, and experience
Your follow-up email will help you emphasize your strengths while adding more information to round off your application. Mention how the position fits in with your interests and goals, which gives the recruiters a glimpse into your personality and motivation.
Be specific about what excites you about the role and the company. A generic note won’t do you any favors. Customize each email and refer directly to conversations you had during the interview. But again, keep it brief - you don’t need to reiterate everything you said in the interview and your cover letter.
Here’s a great example in which a candidate shares the story of his follow-up email. He highlighted how he was best suited for the role and detailed how his willingness to hustle aligned with the company culture that valued motivated employees.
Pro tip: use an email address finder to look for the email addresses of everyone who interviewed you if you don’t already have them.
5. Include anything you forgot to mention in the interview
During the interview process, you won’t have enough time to mention all your relevant accomplishments and ideas. It’s also easy to forget pertinent things in a high-stress situation. A follow-up email is a great place to move the discussion forward by adding any details or additional questions that you may have forgotten to include in the interview.
In particular, add links to previous work or portfolios that can help them make a decision. Again: short and concise is key! Your interviewers already have enough preliminary information from your resume, so your follow-up email should only include relevant details that truly strengthen your application.
6. Ask for the next steps politely
End your follow-up note by politely inquiring about the next step in the hiring process and asking if there are any additional requirements you need to submit. Since you are sending the email right after the interview, take care not to sound impatient.
If the recruiter hasn’t indicated this already, you can ask them when you should expect to hear back. Doing this gives you an idea of how long you should wait before following up, and whether you should call or send an email when you do.
7. End with your signature and contact details
Sign off with your contact information, including your email address and phone number. It is vital to give your interviewers more than one way to reach you so that you avoid missing out on any communications related to your application.
Your email signature should include your full name. You can also include a link to your LinkedIn page, professional website, or portfolio if you wish.
The ideal follow-up message can help you land the job
A strong follow-up message gives you the chance to leave an indelible positive impression on the hiring panel. Avoid using an email template. Instead, personalize your email with relevant and pertinent details. Keep the subject line descriptive and concise to improve your email open rate, and keep your email short.
A great follow-up email helps you build on the connection you made with the panel and has benefits that go beyond the hiring process. You’ll build your network and make a lasting good impression while earning additional points with the interviewer that will take you closer to your dream job.