Congratulations on nailing your job interview! After making a solid impression and wowing the hiring team with your initial pitch, it’s time to send a follow-up e-mail. Doing so can set you apart from the rest of the applicants and put you in a better position to land the job. But when should you do it? What should you say? Is there such a thing as “too soon” to follow up? Could you wait too long and miss your chance? Should you express eagerness for the job or display a cool catch-me-if-you-can reservation?
If you’re looking to write the perfect follow-up e-mail after a job interview, we’re here to help.
When to Send a Follow-up E-mail after an Interview
The question here is not whether you should send a follow-up e-mail or not. You definitely should. The only question is when to send it.
On the one hand, there are always those who will recommend that you “wait for the dust to settle” before sending your follow-up e-mail. Their reasoning goes something like this: since you’re likely not the only person interviewing for the job, the hiring team likely has a long roster of interviewees lined up after you. Even if you sent your e-mail immediately (more or less on the subway ride home), they wouldn’t see it anyway. In their estimation, there’s “little to be gained” from jumping the gun.
Here at Lensa, however, we believe in striking while the iron is hot. We recommend that you compose a short and sweet follow-up e-mail after the interview, while the session is still fresh in your mind. Write your message quickly, but be sure to allow some time before coming back to edit and proofread your e-mail.
Proofing your follow-up e-mail message is a multi-step process.
- Run it through online spelling and grammar checkers.
- Read it out loud to catch any errors or small mistakes that may have slipped through.
While the first step will catch most errors, it isn’t foolproof. Always be sure that your final check has the human touch. Then simply schedule or send your follow-up e-mail before you go to bed that night.
How to Write a Follow-up Email
When it’s time to sit down and write your follow-up e-mail, the first thing you will encounter is the subject line. Depending on your background, you may have been trained to believe that a clever or snappy subject line is imperative and that if you don’t provide one, it’s likely that your recipient won’t open the e-mail.
Such is not the case in this situation. In fact, the opposite is true. Instead of reaching for wit or humor, you should make your e-mail subject line as practical as possible. Your goal here is to make your recipient’s job easier, not harder.
Craft a Simple Subject Line
In this situation, professional best practices for e-mail subject lines simply require your name first, then what the e-mail is regarding.
Here’s a sample:
John Smith – Re: Interview on Tuesday at 4pm
Note that you include your full name (they may have interviewed more than one John!) along with the exact date and time of your interview.
Short, sweet, succinct.
What to include
As you write your message, there are a few things you should absolutely always include in your follow-up e-mails.
- Names. This isn’t the time to copy/paste an impersonal “Dear sir or ma’am” greeting. Refer back to your notes and address the hiring manager (or the team member who interviewed you) by name.
- Personality and tone. While you may choose to use a follow-up e-mail template to shape your message, you should always adjust it to account for personality and tone. Casual settings would call for more casual language, while formal settings would require something a bit more proper. Companies and interviewers are not monoliths. They hold different values, cultures, and expectations. You should adjust your e-mails accordingly.
- Appreciation. Always express thanks for being allowed to participate in the interview process. It’s a good way to show your awareness of the competitive nature of the job market. Plus, it’s a good reminder that you really are in good shape. Many others haven’t made it as far as you have! That’s something to celebrate.
- Expression of interest. In some ways, job interviews are a bit like first dates. If the other side is hard to read, we may lose our enthusiasm for following with the offer of a second date. If you want the job, make positive statements to that effect. While you don’t want to come across as cocky, you should leave the interviewer with no question as to where you stand with your interest.
What not to include
- puns or jokes
- “fun” or colorful fonts
- “bonus” skills not listed on your resume
- new ideas you’ve had since the interview
- attempts at “clever” subject lines
- links, attachments, or videos
Follow-up E-mail Template
Here’s what a follow-up e-mail might look like.
Note how short and practical it is.
Subject Line: Johanna Smith – Interview on Tuesday at 10:30am
Hello [hiring manager],
Thanks for taking the time to meet with me on [Tuesday morning.] I enjoyed hearing more about [your company], especially regarding [the position I applied for]. The new direction you’re moving the department into sounds challenging, but also exciting because I know I’m up for it.
As I was listening to you describe [the project I’d be working on], I started planning how I could leverage my skills to help you meet your goals. The project you described is exactly in my wheelhouse, and I look forward to putting [my strongest skill] to work for [your company].
When you’re able, please let me know what the next steps in the hiring process would be. I look forward to taking them!
[Your Full Name]
Remember, follow-up interview e-mails must always match both the personality and tone of the company in question. While the one above is more casual, it can easily be adjusted to match a more formal setting.
We Can Help
Writing a follow-up e-mail and sending it the right time can enhance your chances of being remembered and set you apart from other candidates. It also shows that you care about the job and want to get hired.
To hear more about how to nail a job interview and write a killer follow-up e-mail, be sure to contact us.
If you’re looking to level up in your career, be sure to stop by and search for jobs with Lensa.