How to follow up after an interview
A follow-up or thank you after the interview can go a long way. Here's how to write a great one.
After a lengthy search process, countless resumes, cover letters and applications, you finally landed an interview with a great company. And better still, it seemed to go really well. Nothing to do now but kick back and wait to hear back from them, right?
Not if you're serious about getting that job. There's still one more thing you can do to really set yourself apart in the employer's mind – follow up. Not sure how to do it? Here are some tips to make sure your follow-up hits the right note.
Actually do it
First and foremost, actually follow up! Employers like to see genuine interest from candidates, and following up after the interview is a great way to communicate your enthusiasm and make a lasting impression.
However, while enthusiasm for the job is great, be careful not to overdo it. A simple written thank-you message – through email or the post office – goes a long way. If you don't hear back after a few days, one more follow-up, whether via email or a phone call, should be enough to find out where you stand. If they still don't get in touch with you after that, it's time to move on.
A well-timed follow-up can not only express your excitement about the job, but also keep your name fresh in the interviewer's mind during the decision-making process. In general, it's best not to rush a follow-up. An emailed thank-you from the parking lot may seem overbearing or disingenuous.
It's a good idea to ask what their timeline is before the leaving the interview. This will help you feel out the right timing for your follow up. Try to follow up a few days before the interviewer says they'll be contacting you. If you don't hear back from them by the time they stated, feel free to follow up again. The key is balance where you can make sure you stay in the interviewer's mind without becoming annoying.
You probably put a good amount of effort into your application and cover letter, and your follow up email or letter should be no different – albeit much shorter. Employers value strong written communication abilities. A well-written, error-free follow up shows that you put in thought and effort, indicating your genuine interest for the position. A sloppy follow-up filled with typos and grammatical errors is not only unprofessional, it may be taken as disrespectful, and could even hurt your chances of landing the job.
It's not all about you
This may seem like strange advice, given that nearly every step in the hiring process up until now has been focused on helping the employer learn everything they can about you. But at this point, the interviewer is more interested in how you can benefit the company.
You can still talk about your qualifications – but now it's more important than ever to tie those qualifications to challenges facing the company. The follow-up is meant to keep you in the interviewer's mind, but it should also demonstrate that you've continued to think about the position and what you can bring to the role.
Thank the hiring manager for their time, refer to a few things discussed during the interview, reaffirm your interest in contributing to the growth of the company, and leave it at that. Remember, follow-ups don't need to be lengthy.
Keep it professional
You may have really hit it off with the interviewer when you met in person, but your follow-up is still a business communication. Keep the tone friendly but professional – no matter how light and loose the conversation during the interview got. It may be tempting to try to stand out with a joke or recalling a funny story discussed in the interview, but attempting to translate humor into a written thank-you to someone you've only just met is very risky. You don't want to lose your shot at the job over someone misinterpreting the tone of an email.
By following these tips, you can set yourself apart from the other applicants, solidify your relationship with the interviewer and improve your chances of getting hired.