Most people believe that the job interview is the last bastion before either getting a job or not getting a job, but that may not be necessarily true. There are factors before and after the job interview process that can affect whether you’re the right man or woman for the job. Before the interview, you can have things like a properly done résumé and a well written cover letter, and after interviews there are items called interview follow-up emails where you communicate with the company after the interview. These can be really important if they’re done correctly.
Before we continue, we must emphasize the strength of interview follow-up emails. Obviously, if you tanked your interview, all the interview follow-up emails on Earth aren’t going to help you. You cannot fix obvious mistakes with something like this. However, if you follow up an interview with a good email, then you could separate yourself from the pack of those who didn’t bother sending one.
To begin, we’ll give you some general guidelines for writing good interview follow-up emails.
Start off by thanking them for their time
Remember that when you receive a job interview, it’s because there is something on your résumé that the potential employers liked. However, these people are taking time out of their likely busy schedule to see if you’re a good fit for the job. It’s an arduous task to hire someone and someone ought to thank them, so it might as well be you, right? It’s vital to begin all interview follow-up emails with a show of gratitude that you were considered.
Remind them of why they’re considering hiring you
Most companies interview a whole bunch of people at once, so you may not have had the opportunity to wow your potential employer at your interview. As an example, I was once part of a “mass interview” where 25 of us were interviewed all at once. It’s kind of hard to impress an employer when you’re sharing the floor with 24 other unemployed people. In cases like this, use interview follow-up emails to showcase talents that you may not have had the chance to talk about. If you’d like to rehash some of the things you didn’t get to explain fully, then go for it. As always, be sure to remind them why you’d be a great fit.
Ask about what happens next
Interview follow-up emails should be a bridge between the interview and them actually hiring you, so if you want to show that you’re excited to get started, then feel free to do so. Ask questions about the next steps in the hiring process to show them that you are motivated and that you are excited to be there.
Like I said above, these companies interview dozens of people. Sometimes they interview hundreds of people. Management may be looking for someone who’s ready to get started right now and may not want to mess around with people who don’t seem excited about working there; use interview follow-up emails to show how excited you are to start making money with these people.
Show them that you understand what they’re looking for
It can be really hard to make things click with your potential employer, but you can make a lot of great headway by explaining that you understand what they want. By starting a dialogue and saying that you listened and that you understood exactly what the potential employer is looking for, you can bridge those professional gaps more quickly.
Think about it in non-work related environments: When someone listens to you and shows that they understand what you want, how much happier are you with those people? If they don’t listen and don’t understand what you want, then how long is it before you go find someone else? This same dynamic applies here—If you understand what they want in an employee, they’re more likely to make you an employee.
Now, all these guidelines won’t matter if you don’t go into this with the right frame of mind. Writing good interview follow-up emails takes time because you really need to make sure you say the right things while not saying the wrong things. It’s a skill and one that you need to master. However, we have a few additional pointers if you’re going to write interview follow-up emails.
This well known acronym stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. There is really no interpretation here: it means literally what it says. When writing these interview follow-up emails, you really need to keep it short and simple. As I stated multiple times above, these companies probably just interviewed a boat load of people. They do not want to sit down and read a novella about how great you are and how happy you were to be there today.
It really shouldn’t be any longer than a couple of paragraphs. Remember, a paragraph is between 3-5 sentences, so you’re looking at about 6-10 sentences total. You can fit a lot of information into 10 sentences. A little longer might be okay, but do not go overboard; they are busy people and do not have time to sit around all day reading your email.
Don’t be needy
The job hiring process is a dance. Employers are looking for employees and the unemployed are looking for employers. Finding that match is so difficult already that there are a thousand blog posts (including this one) written to help you land a job. So don’t complicate things by being needy. Especially since being needy can showcase your potential weaknesses as a future employee.
When writing interview follow-up emails, avoid phrases like “Please, I really need this job.” They already know that. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been applying for a job, right? Don’t be a suck up, don’t be a brown noser, and definitely do not disparage the other applicants. These attempts to put yourself on top of the employment stack are immediately transparent and will turn management off to hiring you. You need to get hired based on professionalism, not kissing corporate booty. If you do, management will respect you more, your coworkers will respect you more, and most importantly, you’ll respect you more.
Use real words
I’m 26 years old and right now my generation bridges that gap between the pre-smartphone era and the post-smartphone era, so this is mostly directed at you younger people. Most people who are older than I am already use real words, real sentences, and proper punctuation. However, people just now becoming adults may not grasp that concept fully. You should be professional when writing any professional email. Don’t call your boss your homie. Don’t use “u” instead of “you”. When in doubt, use your common sense. You want to be friendly but you don’t want to treat your potential employer like your bar buddy.
Interview follow-up emails wrap up
Really folks, it’s about using your common sense. Some businesses may not even appreciate a follow-up email or a note after the interview. Part of the interview process will be ascertaining whether or not you should send one. Some may ask for one while others just dislike the idea of hearing from you again until they’ve decided on whether or not to hire you. If you follow the advice we’ve lined up for you, then you can make sure your interview follow-up emails are what they need to be. After all, tanking one of these emails could mean the difference between you getting a job and not getting a job.
If you're reading this and you still have your job interview ahead of you, be sure to check out: 5 Common Interview Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Job SearchFeatured photo credit: leadership of duck pattern via Shutterstock