Nine foolproof ways to nail your follow up email after interview

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Mile Živković
August 28, 2018
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This is a guest blog post by Mile Živković, a marketing manager and strategist.

The job market is tough and landing that dream position you’ve been yearning for can prove to be extremely difficult. You apply, go through a bunch of formalities and get an interview.

You’re absolutely convinced that you got this, and you feel amazing about yourself. You’re tempted to tweet about your success and make a Facebook post your high school classmates and your aunt from Iowa will just love.

Hopefully you’ve asked your potential employer when they would get back to you as well. So all you have to do now is sit back and wait… Right? Actually, this is the right time to send a post interview follow up email.

Catching up after the interview can be very helpful in your dream job hunt. You may see it as an act of despair, but it’s actually a great way to show your potential employer that you’re really interested in the position.

In fact, Harvard Law School recommends it as a key part of checking in with your potential employer. With that in mind, here are some great ways to make your follow up email after interview shine.

1. Don’t waste your time

If you’re wondering what the best time is to send an email like this, the right answer is — the sooner, the better. You never know whether you were the first or the last candidate to be interviewed. You also don’t know how long it will take the company to make the decision on whom to hire. Make haste and send your email ASAP — it’s just a few minutes of your time.

It’s best to send the email on the day of your interview or the day after. The more you postpone, the higher the chances of forgetting to write the email in the first place. Besides, the sooner you write, the better the interviewers’ memory of you will be. As Liz Ryan, contributor to Forbes, says, write down everything you can as soon as you get home and write an email promptly.

If your email arrives days or even weeks after the interview, you will leave the impression that you had better things to do and better jobs to hunt for.

2. Keep it short and to the point

In your application process, you’ve submitted a ton of information. You’ve sent in your resume, cover letter, provided your LinkedIn profile, attached your portfolio or given examples of your previous work.

On top of all that, you’ve spent at least half an hour with the interviewers. The point is — these guys know you pretty well, and you’ve already cost them a good amount of time. At this point, there is absolutely no need to write an article titled “5 Reasons why I’m your Ideal Employee” and send it to your new boss.

Your follow up email should be short and simple. As mentioned, you’ve had ample opportunities to strut your stuff. Brevity is important for one more reasons — it will show that you understand how busy the interviewers’ schedules are.

It’s no joke — the average interviewer will only take six seconds to look at your resume. They certainly won’t have more time than that to read your follow up email.

3. Send a thank-you note

Your email should contain a simple and short thank-you note, where you indicate that you’d appreciate the opportunity to be chosen as part of their team. Keep it short and formal and thank them for the interview, and state that you hope to see them again soon.

An alternative to a thank-you note sent via email is to send a hand-written card.

In the world full of high tech, a small traditional detail like this will set you apart from the rest of the crowd. As John Lees, a contributor to Guardian says, a handwritten note will show added care and attention to detail. If you go the extra mile to pick a really fancy card, they’ll have a hard time throwing it away as well — so get creative.

4. Proofread your follow up email after interview

Besides work experience, grammar and spelling in your CV are some of the best ways to showcase your attention to detail and impress your future boss.

With around half of all CVs today containing a grammar or spelling error, good writing is as important as ever. Same holds true for an email you would send after the interview. Especially so if your resume and application are on point, so don’t ruin your hard work with a poorly written email filled with spelling errors.

Grammar and spelling are not the only things you need to double-check. Make sure you address the right people, i.e. those who interviewed you. All that hard work can be wasted if you email Irma from accounting and not Irma from HR.

Write individual, personalized emails, as there is a chance the interviewers will check among themselves to see if you sent the same email to multiple addresses. It will make them feel special and you will come off as thoughtful.

5. Use it as a reminder

Depending on the position you’re aiming for, you are one of around 250 people that have applied. With this in mind, remember as much as you can from your interview.

Keep track of details and specific topics you’ve covered with your interviewers — things that they will remember about you personally. Jot these down as soon as you leave the interview, while your memory is still fresh.

In your follow up email after the interview, mention these details as they will remind the interviewers about you and the items you discussed. With so many candidates, this is a great way to stand out.

6. Provide additional information

Once at the job interview, you can get pretty nervous. There’s so many questions you need to answer, you need to watch your body language, tone of voice, posture, and to keep smiling… It’s no wonder that sometimes you get off track.

You may forget important information about your work experience, your skills, or your plans for your career and future. Use this email as an opportunity to send this additional piece of information to your new employer.

7. Don’t try to redeem yourself

Let’s face it — not every job interview is going to be stellar. You can lose track of your thoughts, start mumbling, say something inappropriate or just get nervous. You may think that you can correct these mistakes by explaining them and apologizing for them in a follow up email. However, this is just digging the hole even deeper.

First off, the tone of your email will be negative, and this is something you generally want to avoid. Second, you will be reminding your interviewers about the bad aspects of your interview and not the good ones (see point number 5).

8. Don’t discuss salary

There’s a time and place to talk about money , and email is not the ideal medium — especially not the one following your interview. If you’ve just finished your first interview, you’re still in a pool of potential candidates. You can’t tell if the job is yours, and discussing your salary expectations is out of place.

Don’t use this space to inquire about other technical details either. These can include time off, healthcare package, maternity leave, benefits, working hours… You get the point. You can discuss topics like these during the interview, but they don’t belong in the email that follows.

9. Stress what makes you the best candidate

In the job-hunting game, there’s lots of people simply looking for a way to provide for a living. They apply for all types of positions — whether they have the necessary experience and skills or not.

There are also people looking to change their current job for one reason or another. You need to prove that you are above this and that you truly want the job. Your follow up email is the perfect chance to do this.

Show your enthusiasm and stress what would make you their ideal employee. Don’t go along the lines of “I’m the best developer in the continental United States”.

Instead, try something more subtle, such as “Your company has been the industry leader for decades and I think I would do an excellent job of fitting into your team”. This tiny bit of detail can make a difference between you and a candidate with identical experience and skills.

If you’ve followed all of our tips, you should be well on your way to writing an amazing follow up email after interview.

To summarize briefly:

Make it short — a couple of sentences should do the trick.

Send it right after the interview — the same or the following day.

Thank the interviewer — address them personally, thank them for their time.

Proofread it — grammar, spelling, accuracy = important.

Remind them about something from the interview — you mentioned how you were in charge of 50 people at your previous job… It’s a good idea to repeat this.

Provide additional information — you’ve published a great paper you would love the interviewers to check out — this is a good place to add this new info.

State what makes you the best candidate — you’re unique and you know it, tell them what makes you perfect for the job.

Don’t try to make up for mistakes — what happens in the interview stays in the interview. No need to explain yourself or apologize.

Don’t mention technicalities — salary, benefits, days off… Discuss these in another interview.

From our point of view, the ideal follow up email after interview should look something like this:

Dear Mr. Jameson,

Thank you for the interview and the pleasant atmosphere you’ve created. I enjoyed speaking with you about the marketing manager position at your company. It was great to talk about the research I did on lead nurturing for my past company. If you’re interested, I forgot to mention I have a published paper on the subject which you might enjoy reading.

I believe that my unique approach to marketing combined with my enthusiasm would make me an ideal fit in your dedicated team of professionals.

I appreciate the time you took from your schedule to interview me. I am very interested in working alongside your team and I look forward to your feedback and hearing your final decision within the next week. If you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely, Jane Doe

Of course, you can make variations according to your needs and liking. You will realize that a follow up email after an interview is not a sign of desperation. Instead, it’s a chance to reaffirm a great first impression and ensure you get that job you’ve always dreamed of.

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