How to Write an Interview Follow Up Email
You put in a lot of effort to land that job interview. Keep the momentum going with a great follow up email after the interview. In the course of job-hunting, the cover letter is a way to pique a potential employer’s interest in you. The post-interview thank you email, on the other hand, aims to maintain that interest.
An interview follow up letter is “crucial,” says resume expert Kelly Keating. “It shows that you are engaged and interested in the job, and that you can follow through.”
And more than that, it gives you the opportunity to further demonstrate your fit for the position, as well as the chance to elaborate on some key topic discussed during the interview.
“A candidate might be asked a difficult question, one that they feel they did not answer well,” says career expert George Dutch. In such cases, he says, the follow-up note could include something along the lines of: “During the interview you asked me the following question. I feel I did not answer it adequately, and I’d like to take the opportunity to do so now.”
One thing is certain, according to the experts to whom we talked, you’re not going to get credit simply for sending a follow-up note. Content matters.
Writing for U.S. News & World Report, human resources expert Alison Green identifies several potential missteps that jobseekers can make when sending thank you letters after an interview. Chief among them is treating the post-interview follow up “as just one more box to check off in their job-searching steps.” Instead, she writes, your note should be personalized and add to the discussion you had during the interview.”
Also, Green points out, your note should go beyond a mere “thank you” by demonstrating your enthusiasm for the job and further showing how you are a good fit.
Interview Follow-Up Email Tips
So it’s clear that sending a post-interview note is important. Now how do you put it together? Here are some tips that the experts shared with us.
When to Send
“Send the thank you email the same day of the interview,” career coach Michelle Merritt says. “Even if it’s that evening following the interview, send the thank you that day so the conversation is still fresh in everyone’s mind.”
Also, Keating says, send an individual email to each person you interviewed with.
“You do not want to send one generic email to everyone,” she says. “This can be perceived as impersonal and lazy.”
To that point, Merritt suggests requesting a business card from each of your interviewers to ensure that you have their correct contact information, title and name spelling.
What to Write
Regarding the content of your after-interview note, career coach and trainer Joshua Evans provides the following outline.
Be concise: “This is not the time to be longwinded. If you letter is too long it will be less like a thank you and more like a chore.”
Express gratitude: “Actually thank them – tell them you appreciate their time and their consideration. This will let them know that you are an appreciative candidate.”
Sell your skills: “Make sure you highlight any specific reasons you are a good fit for their organization. This will solidify your value to the position they are trying to fill.”
Ask what’s next: “Wrap it up with a gentle call to action or inquiry. This will nudge them towards giving you additional information and force them to emotionally invest a bit more in your candidacy for the role.”
What to Avoid
As mentioned previously, avoid sending a generic form letter of a follow-up. It takes more time and effort, but the note should be personalized and specific to the job interview at hand.
And, Merritt says, keep it professional and on-topic, adding, “Do not attempt to be funny or reference a joke from the interview. There’s little nuance in text and you run the risk of it not making sense in print.”
Post-interview follow-up emails do have their limitations. Green notes on her Ask a Manger blog that if you’re not a fit for the job, “a thank you note isn’t going to change that.” And, on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re the top candidate for a position, not sending a thank you letter after the interview probably isn’t going to stop you from getting the job.
However, a good interview thank you email can keep you in the running for a job, Merritt says.
“When I was a recruiter, I always took a second look at the candidates that sent a thank you note,” she says. “More than once I decided to forward a candidate I was on the fence about on to the hiring manager when they sent a thank you. A well-crafted thank you note demonstrates the ability to follow through. Every company wants that.”
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