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The Art Of The Interview Follow Up Email [Infographic]

by Johnny Bravo · 9 comments

Interview follow up emails are now the go-to delivery method of the current generation of job seekers. They’re fast, easy, and most importantly cheap.

And while they may seem pretty straight forward there is an art to sending an effective follow up email. Simply sending one from your iPhone won’t do; and could do more harm than good.

If you’re looking for some practical tips to help you be successful in your job search then you’ll love this infographic.

It’s a simple checklist which details the basics of an interview follow up email, why its important to send, what it should accomplish, and some important things to avoid.

The Art Of The Interview Follow Up Email

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Understanding The Need For Sending A Follow Up

Imagine you just came out of an interview and aced it. Your answers were on-point, your rapport with the hiring manager was palatable, and you have clear next steps for the interview process.

You may think that your job is done until those agreed next steps but you have a great opportunity to really stand out from the crowd with the right action.

An interview follow up email is a fast, easy way to stay top of mind with the hiring manager and highlight the key areas that make you the right fit for that position.

The Basics

Personalize It: At a minimum you should call the interviewer out by name and mention at least one speciifc example or talking point from the interview. Don’t skimp here if you can avoid it. 

Greg,

It was a pleasure to meet you this morning. I can’t believe we went to UCLA together and never ran into each other. It’s always great to meet a fellow Bruin.

Send To Every Interviewer: It is not OK to send a blanket email to the six people you interviewed with. Nor is it OK to send a thank you note to only the hiring managing. You should expect to send an inidividual thank you email to each person you met with that day. From Secretary to CEO. 

Phillip,

Thank you for your help today. I must have made a wrong turn but luckily you were there to answer the phone and guide me to the building. I very much appreciated your assistance this morning.

Spell Check It: As funny as it is when you use “your” instead of “you’re” with your friends; it is less than ideal when you are emailing a potential employer. Use spell check and proof read to avoid catastrophe. You don’t want to mess up on name or word spelling or poor grammar. 

Stacey,

Nice meating you yesterday. Thanks again for your time discusing the available position. i Look forward to hearing back from you.

Have Others Review It: Sometimes you get so wrapped up in what you’re trying to say  that you miss what you don’t want to say. Having someone else take a look at your follow up if possible. This shouldn’t take long since its a relatively short email. 

Why Is A Follow Up Email Important?

To Show Passion: Often times, and especially so during hard economic times, job seekers will go on as many interviews as possible. They think its a numbers game and will interview with any and every company that grants them the opportunity. Sending a follow up email is an easy way to show that you are truly serious about this position and passionate about working there.

To Help You Stand Out: It is unlikely you are the only person interviewing for that position. You may not even be the only one who interviewed for it that same day. Hiring managers will often interview dozens of candidates before they request follow up interviews for the top picks. An interview follow up email will help you stay top of mind with the hiring manager.

To Show You’ll Put In The Extra Effort: Doing just 1% more than everyone else is often all it takes for that job to be yours. And that 1% may be as simple as sending a thank you email immediately after your interview. Companies don’t want to hire someone who is planning to do the bare minimum. They want overachievers and workaholics; and whether or not you are those things, a follow up email will help give the impression that you are.

To Highlight Your People Skills: Believe it or not, many people do not do any follow up after a meeting. Something as simple as sending an interview thank you email goes a long way to show that you are a people person, understand how to build relationships, and have common courtesy.

To Showcase Your Professional Etiquette: No way around this. Sending some form of follow up is pretty much expected nowadays and yet many job candidates still don’t send one. DO NOT be one of the candidates filtered out because you neglected to show the basic aspects of business acumen.

By the way, did you know that according to a CareerBuilder survey that 58% of employers said it’s important to send a thank you after an interview; 24% said it’s very important. That means that at a minimum, 82% of employers think you should send an interview follow up email.

Do this. Always!

What You Want Your Follow Up Email To Accomplish

The ultimate goal of a follow up email is to highlight why YOU are the best candidate for the position. However we can break this down into eight important aspects that your follow up should cover.

Reiterate Your Interest: The first thing you want to do in your email is reiterate your interest in the position and your gratitude for being a candidate. Be sincere and show respect for the time they gave you.

Highlight Your Strengths: You want to be sure that your follow up email highlights your strongest skills and the ones that the interviewer found most interesting. If any of those skills were especially important to the interviewer(s) be sure to lay it on thick.

Remind Them Of Your Fit: Finding someone who is a cultural fit for a company is a hiring manager’s #1 dream. Be sure to remind them of what you talked about around your fit for the position, team, and company. Show them why you are the best candidate.

Emphasize Interesting Talking Points: At some point during the interview the hiring manager probably sat up a little and took notice of something specific you said. Maybe you two went to the same college? Maybe you know the same people at a past job. Maybe you have a unique skill that they’ve been looking to add to their team. Whatever it is be sure to highlight it in your follow up email.

Overcome Any Objections: Don’t be surprised if at some point during the interview you gave a poor answer to a question, or that they discovered you are missing a crucial skill set they expect in a new hire. If/When this happens, highlight that you recognize that skill gap and explain what you are doing to remedy the situation.

Make You Memorable: You want to remind the interviewer of the things that they found interesting about you. It doesn’t matter if the topic is about the job or the local sports team. If you found common ground with them on something unique, make mention of it in your follow up.

When To Send It

In the end, good enough is better than never at all. Focus on sending the best follow up you can and hit send.

Within 24 Hours: Ultimately you want to send the follow up email as soon as possible. However it is recommended that you take an appropriate amount of time to craft the best follow up possible. 24 hours is the max deemed appropriate though so try to send it as soon as you can.

Bet Not Too Soon: Sending it immediately after your interview (e.g. in the car, in the office parking lot) can seem like you had the note prepared prior to the interview. This means that it was probably a canned response which you want to avoid giving the impression of. Take a little time to collect your thoughts around the interview and use your notes to your advantage in the email.

After Reviewing Your Notes: While you want to send your follow up email as soon as possible, you do not want to do it without first reviewing your notes. This will allow you to better personalize the message and highlight important talking points that came up.

Before It’s Perfect: Perfection is not your ultimate goal. Given enough time you will make a thousand revisions. Focus on the main topics you want to cover and hit send. Don’t delay any more than you have to. As long as your message is clear, effective, and free from spelling or grammar errors; you’re good to go.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Making It Too Long: Remember, be clear and concise in your message. Do not cover every topic that has been discussed in this interview and the 3 previous phone interviews. Pick only a few (less is more here) topics to speak to and be done with it.

Rehashing The Interview:  In addition to writing a novel, you want to avoid rehashing the interview. Your follow up email should add to the conversion, not copy it. Point out additional details that weren’t discussed in the meeting. If they talked about the need to reduce costs, tell them the other example you forgot to mention in the interview. If they are interested in breeding dogs, send them a link to the local dog show your city put on. Just make sure it compliments what was talked about.

Not Being Sincere: Don’t make the mistake of lying about your “favorite” part of the meeting. Be sincere about any aspects that excited you about the job. If you don’t have anything to say that was positive then simply be cordial in your follow up. 

Making It All About You: A key thing to remember is that you don’t want your interview follow up to be all about you. You have a great opportunity to highlight where and how you will make their lives easier, their company more profitable, and their losses from an unfilled position minimized. Show them how you will add value to their lives and make them look good to their bosses.

For example instead of saying:

I feel that my experience in sales prospecting will help me be successful here. At my last company I helped bring in over a million dollars in new revenue, had a shorter sales cycle then the rest of my team, and reached quota 3 months ahead of other teams.

You’d instead want to say something similar to:

My sales prospecting skills will help bring similar value to XYZ Corp as I did at ABC Inc such as bringing in over a million dollars in new revenue, reducing the sales cycle by 2 weeks, and helping my team reach quota by Q3.

Do you see the difference there? They say very similar things and point out the same accomplishments and yet the second example is much more geared towards benefiting the hiring companies psyche. The second statement tells them exactly what the benefits are of hiring you. The first only says what you did for yourself at your last job.

Not highlighting the correct attributes: YOU may be proud of your latest certification but all they really care about is that you spent the last 5 years at one company instead of all the other applications who job hopped like a commuter train. Yes it’s important to remind them of your skill set and fit, but you want focus on the skills and attributes THEY are interested in.

Not showing proper email etiquette: It’s one thing to send an email. It’s a whole differnt thing to send a bad email. Poor grammar, typos, run on sentences, etc. are all simple mistakes to avoid. Here are a few more interview follow up email etiquette tips that will help you out.

Only sending it to one person: If you met with more than one person, you should send a thank you note to everyone you met. If possible, even the secretary. If you ran into the CEO in the hallway, send him a note. Was the janitor emptying trash cans while you walked to the conference room; did you catch their name; send them a thank you letter for keeping the place spotless.

Interview Follow Up Email Templates

The below templates are meant to be guidelines that you can use for following up after interview meetings. For each one be sure to replace anything in [brackets] to align with yourself, the company, and the specific interview you are following up on. As a post interview email example, each script below accomplishes everything mentioned above to help you stand out from the crowd.

After A Good Job Interview

You came out of the interview ready to take on the world. You had great rapport with the interviewer, were on point with your answers, asked awesome follow up questions, and have clear next steps for the interview process. The below interview follow up email will help to push you to the front of the pack.

Hi [First Name],

It was such a pleasure to meet you in person today. I appreciate the time you took to evaluate my fit for the [position] role and [company] culture. [Company] is an excellent organization so I’m sure you have plenty of other great candidates you are considering; so I hope I showcased my fit. 

With this role unfilled I know you are with out someone to drive [what ever that position does] which as I mentioned I specialized in while at [relevant experience].

Knowing more about your team and the value I can bring to it, I’m even more passionate about the opportunity then I was walking in your door this morning. I enjoyed hearing that [your skill] would bring a lot of value to [company]. 

Again, I am excited for the opportunity to work along side you at [company name] and look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you again for your consideration.

Best Wishes,

[Your Name]

After A Bad Job Interview

Maybe you just didn’t click with hiring manager, or maybe there was a mistake (lie) on your resume that you couldn’t over come. Whatever the reason you might feel the interview went poorly, this interview follow up email will help you over come it.

Hi [First Name],

It was such a pleasure to meet you in person today. I appreciate the time you took to evaluate my fit for the [position] role and [company] culture. [Company] is an excellent organization so I’m sure you have plenty of other great candidates you are considering; so I hope I showcased my fit. 

During the conversation we talked about [issue] and I want to make sure there wasn’t any confusion around the situation. I admit that [be honest here] however given the other aspects of my experience and qualification for the [position] role; I know I’ll bring tremendous value to [company].

Knowing more about your team and the value I can bring to it, I’m even more passionate about the opportunity then I was walking in your door this morning. I enjoyed hearing that [your skill] would bring a lot of value to [company]. 

Again, I am excited for the opportunity to work along side you at [company name] and look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you again for your consideration.

Best Wishes,

[Your Name]

After An Interview For A Job You’re Not Qualified For

In everyone’s career there comes a time where ambition and experience don’t 100% align with opportunities. If you go in or come out of an interview and it’s clear you are not fully qualified, this does NOT mean you won’t still be great at the role. Your second interview (follow up email) is where you want to again highlight what you’re doing to gain those missing skills as well as point out the skills you do have that will bring value to them.

Hi [First Name],

It was such a pleasure to meet you in person today. I appreciate the time you took to evaluate my fit for the [position] role and [company] culture. [Company] is an excellent organization so I’m sure you have plenty of other great candidates you are considering; so I hope I showcased my fit. 

During the conversation we talked about [lacking skill] and my opportunity to grow in that area. I really took that part of the conversation to heart, knowing how important it is for the position and have already [something you’re doing to gain that skill] so I am up to the standards you expect. That along with [2-3 other skills you do have] means I’ll be able to hit the ground running given the opportunity to join your team. This will help me bring the tremendous value to [company] I spoke about.

Knowing more about your team and the expectations for filling the role, I’m even more passionate about the opportunity then I was walking in your door this morning. I enjoyed hearing that [your skill] would bring a lot of value to [company]. 

Again, I am excited for the opportunity to work along side you at [company name] and look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you again for your consideration.

Best Wishes,

[Your Name]

I won’t pretend to say that these are the best or only good follow up interview email but they have worked well in the past. As long as you add your own flare to them, they should work for you too.

A Word Of Advice When Sending An Interview Follow Up Email

I’d like to leave you one last nugget regarding sending a thank you letter after interview. You may decide that in fact this job, position, company, manager is not for you. And that is completely OK. It is your life.

Your interview follow up email up does not always have to be about your excitement for the job.

An email following job interview meetings are simply meant as a thank you; they don’t always have to imply your excitement. If its not a fit for you let them know. They will appreciate that you don’t want to waste their time. And you can start working on finding the job that will be your dream job.

Best of luck in sending your own interview follow up email.

~ Johnny

Interview follow up email photo courtesy of transchristopher5 / Flickr.com

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