Getting the interview means you did a great job polishing your resume. If you left the interview grinning ear-to-ear that must mean you prepared well and aced all of the questions. You’re thinking, “Now, the waiting begins.” Meanwhile, the candidate who was interviewed before you is busy preparing a follow-up email that he plans to send within 24 hours.
Before the Hiring Manager can make the final decision, he gets to read the candidate’s email. The Hiring Manager is impressed with the candidate’s candor and his willingness to go the extra mile to get the job. The phone call is made; only it is not to you.
Why You Should Write A Follow-Up Email After An Interview
Job seekers dedicate time fine-tuning their resumes and practicing their responses to interview questions that they forget the third component in the process: sending a follow-up email after an interview.
As the term implies, the purpose of the follow-up email is to check up on the status of your application after the job interview. Essentially, its purpose is to find out if you got the job or to inquire what the next steps are.
Why is the follow-up email so important?
First, it could validate the soft skills that you listed in the resume or discussed during the interview. Soft skills refer to the personality attributes that best define your approach to the job.
You may have listed these soft skills in your resume:
- Great interpersonal skills; ability to establish strong and purposeful relationships within the organization.
- Excellent communication skills; able to articulate thoughts, ideas, and opinions in a constructive manner.
- Meticulous and highly-detail oriented; covers all the bases in order to minimize the risk of committing mistakes.
All of these positive attributes are validated by the follow-up email. The Hiring Manager will see that you are the “real deal”; there is substance behind your pronouncements.
Second, not everyone, if any at all, will send a follow-up email to the Hiring Manager. Many job seekers are constrained by their fears, doubts, and unsubstantiated beliefs.
They think sending a follow-up email after an interview is a bad idea. For some reason, they believe the Hiring Manager might find the email “desperate”, “pretentious” or “pessimistic”.
The truth is, hiring managers love receiving follow-up and thank you emails. In a survey of more than 300 hiring managers, a whopping 80% responded that a follow-up email after an interview increases your chances of getting hired.
In contrast, only 25% of job applicants take the time to send a follow-up or thank you email to the Hiring Manager after the interview.
So while 75% of your competitors are just waiting beside their phone after the interview, take the next step and stay ahead of the pack by sending a follow-up email.
When To Send The Follow-Up Email
According to a survey conducted by the staffing agency, Robert Half International, 81% of 1,000 hiring managers responded that they want to receive the follow-up email within 2 weeks after the job interview.
Sending your follow-up email within 2 weeks is a good guideline to follow. However, the Hiring Manager could have shared a timeline for a decision with you during the interview.
For example, if the Hiring Manager informed you that a decision would be made within 3 to 5 days, it would be best to send the follow-up email much earlier.
Should you send the email a few hours after the interview?
A better idea would be to send a thank you email. This is different from a follow-up email in terms of content and intent. With a thank you email, you are merely showing your appreciation for being considered for the job.
Here’s an example of a thank you email:
Thank you for the interview yesterday. To be considered for the job is a great honor.
If you have any further questions or need clarification on the information I shared during yesterday’s interview, please do not hesitate to ask.
Again, thank you for the opportunity and for the wonderful conversation.
A thank you email should be short and direct to the point. The tone is also slightly informal in that you refer to the recipient via his first name. Remember that the thank you email is simply a gesture of appreciation and goodwill.
As we will show you in the next section, the form and content of a follow-up email are much different.
How To Write A Follow-Up Email After An Interview
Another reason why you should send a follow-up email is that you can use it as your final push for the job.
Think of the email as a follow-up sales pitch. It is an opportunity to highlight your value proposition and impress upon the Hiring Manager that you are the best person for the job.
Therefore, it is important to use an enthusiastic tone when writing the email. If you included attributes such as results-oriented, positive disposition, and highly-engaged in your resume, let them shine through in your follow-up email.
Step 1 – The Email Subject Line
The email subject line will determine whether your email gets opened or not. Make sure the follow-up email is addressed to the person who interviewed you.
The best email subject line is direct and complete in details.
Subject: Interview for Research Assistant 28 January Thursday 2 pm
If the company emailed you the invitation for the job interview and you responded, you should send the follow-up through the thread.
This way, your follow-up will have a greater chance of being opened. The details of the thread will also make it easier for the Hiring Manager to remember who you are.
Step 2 – The Content of Your Follow-Up Email
The content of your follow-up email should likewise be short and concise. However, there are details that you should include:
- Similar to the thank you email, greet the recipient with his/her first name.
- State your intention right away – to follow up on your job application.
- Always indicate the specific job title, the date and time of the interview.
- Reiterate that you are interested in the job position.
- Include one discussion point during the interview which you believe was the most compelling and generated the highest level of engagement.
- Conclude by reiterating your appreciation for the interview and the opportunity.
Before sending out the email, proof-read its content. Run it through a grammar and spell-checking software. When you are 100% confident of your email, click “Send”.
Here’s an example of a follow-up email:
My name is Adrian Winslow and this email is intended to follow up on the status of my job application for the position of Research Assistant. You interviewed me last 28 January, Thursday at 2 pm.
I wish to reiterate that I am firmly interested in the position. Our discussion during the interview about the importance of incorporating Behavioral Psychology in market analysis was exciting and intriguing.
In this regard, I hope to be given the opportunity to learn from your company and contribute to the continued success of XYZ Company.
Kindly advise of the next steps. If you need any clarification, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Are you surprised by how short a follow-up email is? If you feel compelled to write a longer one – don’t! There are 2 things that you have to remember.
First, this is an email. No one wants to read through a long, drawn-out email. This is especially true for people who work in Human Resources who probably receive hundreds of emails every day. As busy individuals, they would want to clear out their inbox as soon as possible.
Second, this is a follow-up. It is understood that as a follow-up, the meat and potatoes of the matter have already been discussed. Therefore, it should be brief.
Conclusion – Dealing With The “What Ifs” After You’ve Sent A Follow-Up Email
The “What Ifs” are the possible scenarios that could have taken place after you’ve sent your follow-up email. In the first place, once you’ve clicked “Send”, the anxiety of waiting begins.
Dealing with the What Ifs will not make the waiting period any easier. Here are a few tips on what to do if any of the following scenarios happen.
Scenario 1 – The Company Responds That They Have No News Yet
This is the usual case. Selecting the best candidate from the list is not always an easy task. What you need to do is to send a short email that will keep the conversation – and hopefully, their interest – going.
Here’s an example of a quick email response:
Thank you for the update! It is much appreciated.
Can you advise on the best time to follow up? I understand it is not easy to hire the best person for this job.
I just don’t want to follow up too often and take away too much of your valuable time.
Scenario 2 – No Response
Not hearing from the Hiring Manager could be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences. However, don’t press the panic button just yet.
First, you should respect the time and responsibilities of the Hiring Manager. He/she could just be too busy to respond to your email right away.
Second, give the Hiring Manager at least 2 days for the courtesy of a response. If after 2 days, you have not received a response to your follow-up email, send a short reminder:
Just checking in to see if you were able to read my last email and if there are updates regarding my job application.
I know you are a busy man. Kindly provide me an update when you have the chance.
If you still haven’t heard anything from the company after sending this email, remain patient. Sending a follow-up email is a great way to establish communication but frequent follow-ups may be counter-productive.
Assuming you have job interviews from other companies lined up, by all means, push through with them.
In a tight job market, opportunities are hard to come by. So keep knocking on doors until someone finally lets you in.