OK, so your interview is over—you’ve made it through the hard part. But now comes the waiting. No matter how good you may have felt about your performance, it’s impossible not to get anxious about what’s next to come. How are you supposed to not feel helpless?
The problem is, a lot of us don’t know how to properly follow up. For some, that means over-communication—you call and email every day, possibly more than once—or for others, you completely forget email etiquette altogether.
We want to help. Take the power back into your own hands: don’t waste the time or energy on worrying, and learn how to nail a follow-up email for any interview situation. Follow these examples closely, and it will save you a world of trouble down the road.
Be the Smartest Person in the Room: Take Notes During Your Interview
Before you look at any examples, there’s one key element that you should try to do before you ever write that email: take notes.
Ideally, you have the opportunity to do this during the interview. If you can, it’s going to benefit you in myriad ways: helping you to follow along in the conversation, showing that you’re serious and attentive, also giving you a chance to review notes as you go along (making you seem sharper on more on task).
But it will also help you immensely in your follow up. It will give you keen details that you’ll use in any of these three responses.
If you weren’t able to take notes during the interview, then stop now and do your best to draw on some of the major points of the conversation. What projects did you talk about? Were there any running jokes during the conversation? Did they seem to particularly like any of your qualifications? Dislike any?
Draw on your notes as much as you can, as it will help you write an informed follow-up that helps to leave a more personal impression than just the status quo.
The Thank You Note Follow-Up
Our first example is the classic “Thank You” note follow-up. It’s simple. Write a note thanking the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you:
- Cite several points in the conversation that you enjoyed speaking about
- Mention a project that the company is working on that you’re excited about
- If there was any hesitation, reaffirm your excitement to learn and grow
- Provide additional credentials or resources—even projects, if addressed in the actual interview
The key is that you’re keeping it short, sweet and personal. You really don’t even need to send a follow-up that’s more than 100-200 words. Think of it this way: if they need to scroll, or work through a big block of text, they likely won’t read it.
Make your points easily heard, and end on a classy note: “Looking forward to hearing from you soon.” And sign.
The Silence-Breaker Follow-Up
If it has been longer than the projected reply date, it’s absolutely OK to reply and check in. Like the thank you, it’s extremely important to keep it brief. Make sure that it has a positive, non-assuming tone. If they’re stressed about multiple projects, you may have just slipped through the cracks. Don’t start on an accusatory foot.
Try something like this:
I hope this finds you well. I wanted to check in and see how the screening process has been coming along.
I understand that it’s a busy time. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help make your decision easier.
The Feedback Follow-Up
If the rejection comes you have two things you should absolutely do:
- Thank them, and ask them to keep your resume on file in case anything opens up in the future
- Ask your contact if they could provide you with any feedback as to why they chose another candidate.
This opens the door potentially to a very fruitful conversation. They will often be totally obliging, and that’s information that you can use in your next interview. Any piece of advice or opinion from a hiring manager can be extremely useful.
If you present a positive tone, it shows that you have a level head, and maintains your previous assertions that you are in fact eager to learn and grow. You don’t want to affirm that they made the right decision to go with someone else, you want to impress them with your maturity.
Overall, be gracious. You may have been the next in line candidate. If you just drop off the face of the earth, or leave a nasty reply, you’ll only be hurting yourself. The number one choice may back out and you could end up getting an offer after all.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, these are simple follow-ups that can help you feel less helpless and more confident in your situation. Waiting is extremely hard, but when you handle this period well, it can have amazing benefits—no matter if you land the job or not.