Congratulations on nailing an initial job interview! These are exciting times, and you’re no doubt haunting your inbox, waiting to hear back from the recruiter with good news. But what happens when the hours stretch into days, and the days stretch on in what feels like an endless succession? When is the right time to send a follow up email after a job interview? And what should you do if you get no response after a job interview?
Is following up quickly the right move? If so, What should you say? Is there such a thing as “too soon” to send a follow up email? 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 interview follow up email after a job interview, we’re here to help.
When to Send a Follow Up Email After a Job Interview
The question here is not whether you should send a follow-up email 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 email. 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 email 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 email after the interview, while the session is still fresh in your mind.
What If It’s Too Late?
Perhaps it’s too late to strike while the iron is hot. Days (or more) have passed, and you still haven’t heard back from your recruiter. You’re beginning to wonder if you’ve been ghosted.
Is it too late to send a follow up email?
Short answer? No.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by sending a quick email to check in.
An Important Note on Your Approach
If it’s been so long since you’ve heard from the recruiter that you’re starting to wonder if you’ve been ghosted, it’s natural that you’re feeling a bit frustrated. It’s important to consider your approach and work to ensure that your frustration doesn’t bleed through in your email.
Stacey Kane, the Business and Development Leader at the UK-based EasyMerchant, makes an important point about controlling your tone.
When writing a follow-up email after you haven’t heard from the employer in a long time, it’s crucial to avoid passive-aggressive language. Instead, congratulate them for identifying the suitable candidate and ask how they can keep you on their radar for future possibilities…
If the employer hasn’t discovered the suitable applicant yet, they will either correct you, stating they haven’t found someone yet, or explain why they haven’t gotten back to you sooner. Furthermore, making it evident that you’re still interested in working for the firm may result in them providing you with helpful feedback and keeping you in the running for future chances.
Kane’s solid advice allows you to give the employer a way to save face while allowing you to put your best foot forward.
How to Write a Follow-up Job Interview Email
When it’s time to sit down and write your follow-up email, 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 email.
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 email subject line as practical as possible. Your goal here is to make your recipient’s job easier, not harder.
Crafting a Simple Subject Line
When writing a follow up email after a job interview, always follow professional best practices for email subject lines. This simply requires your name first, then what the email 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.
Deciding What to Include in Your Message
As you write your message, there are a few things you should absolutely always include in your follow-up emails.
- Use 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.
- Be mindful of personality and tone. While you may choose to use a follow-up email 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 emails accordingly.
- Express appreciation. Always express thanks for being allowed to participate in the interview process. While this isn’t a thank you email, it’s still good to show your awareness of the competitive nature of the job market. Plus, it’s a good way to acknowledge progress. Many others haven’t made it as far as you have! That’s something to celebrate.
- Signal your ongoing 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.
Of course, there are also a few things you should absolutely not include.
- Puns or jokes
- “Fun” or colorful fonts
- Links, attachments, or videos
- Attempts at clever subject lines
- Bonus skills not listed on your resume
- New ideas you’ve had since the interview
While it may feel that such items will help you stand out from the crowd, in reality, they only come across as distracting and unprofessional.
Follow-up Email Template
Here’s what a follow-up email 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]
Follow up interview emails 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; and if you’re following up after some time has passed, you’ll want to adjust your email more along the lines of the advice offered by Stacey Kane.
In the future, however, remember to send your follow up emails sooner rather than later.
Proofing Your Follow Up Email Message
After you complete your follow up email, don’t forget to proofread it to make sure it’s perfect.
- Run it through online spelling and grammar checkers.
- Read it out loud to catch any errors or small mistakes that may have slipped through.
- Run it by a few friends or fellow job seekers to see if they notice anything amiss.
While the first step will catch most errors, bear in mind that technology isn’t foolproof.
Always be sure that your final check has the human touch. Then simply schedule or send your follow-up email before you go to bed that night.
Lensa Can Help with Your Job Search
Writing a follow up email after a job interview and sending it at 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.
Here at Lensa, we have the tools and resources you need to level up in your career and land your dream job.